We all get our best nights’ sleep in our own bed, and babies are no exception. But if you’re spending the night away from home, the option’s not always available.
So is there a way to help your child get a good sleep when they’re away from the bed they’re familiar with? I’ll give you my opinion and suggestions in this week’s video.
You know the truth of the matter is that we all sleep better in our own bed. Just think about the times you’ve traveled and stayed in a hotel, or stayed with friends or family, and for the first night or two, you just don’t have the same quality sleep.
We’re very habitual about our sleep environments and we do not like a whole lot of change or surprise.
So the question that I get asked is can you teach a child to be more flexible with their sleep schedule? Can you teach a child to sleep somewhere else?
Well, it really depends on the child. My first son was pretty much completely inflexible when it came to his schedule. I tried a few times to have him go to bed a little bit later, or have a nap in the carseat, and I just found that I ended up paying the price for that for days afterwards.
So in that case, it just wasn’t worth it for me to try that because, again, why put us both through the agony. So I just knew that I had to be pretty diligent about planning his day around his sleep schedule the best that I could.
Now my third child, my daughter, she was much more easygoing with it. If she was a little late getting to her nap, she seemed to handle it fine. If she took a half hour nap in the stroller, that seemed to do her just fine, and so we could be a little bit more flexible with her sleep schedule. So it’s really gonna depend first on the personality and temperament of your child.
Now, how do you find out? Well you should test it. So if you’ve started the Sleep Sense program, I would say give it a good three or four weeks, so get a really great foundation in place, and then start experimenting with a little bit of a push, maybe you plan for the afternoon nap to be in the stroller one day, maybe you plan to take your playpen over to your girlfriends house and baby will take a nap there, maybe you wanna leave her for the day with your mother-in-law and see how things go there, that’s absolutely fine.
I mean, I really, sort of, suggest people follow an 80/20 rule. You know, if you bend a little bit, this will also help your child become a little bit more flexible if she has any kind of tolerance for that. So just keep in mind, though, that this requires practice, so just because you tried one time at your girlfriends house and she didn’t nap well, doesn’t mean that you can’t try it again.
I would definitely give it a few tries and then see if she becomes accustomed to the idea of possibly taking a nap in a new environment now and then.
Another great thing you can try is taking your playpen over to your friends house for the evening. We used to do that a lot. Instead of getting a babysitter every single time, we would take our playpen, we would take, you know, his jammies and everything he needed for his night and when it was his bedtime, we would get him ready for bed the best that we could, try to keep the routine as close to home as we possibly could and then put him down in the playpen and go enjoy the rest of our evening with our friends, and the first few times, sure there was a little bit of protest, there was a little bit of, hey, what’s going on here, and we would just check in on him every few minutes and reassure him that he was fine, and the more we did this, the better he got, so we got to a place where we could do this whenever we wanted to and he would happily go down and sleep well until we were ready to go home.
So in that way, he was actually quite flexible. So definitely give it a try, but then if you find, you know what, it’s just not gonna work out that great if we tried to tinker with her schedule, then just know that this is just a phase, right, her schedule will change as she grows, and sleep will become a little bit less throughout the day, so it’s not forever, it’s just for now.
Thanks for watching. Sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!