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  • Writer's pictureAnnika Brindley

How to Get Your Child's Sleep Back on Track After Travel & Sickness

Sick toddler sleeping on an airplane

Did you travel for the Thanksgiving holidays? Did everything look like it was going well, but then your child skipped a nap on your flight and fell asleep at some random non-nap time in the rental car on the way to Grandma's house?

Did your child have to sleep in a large (but ventilated) walk-in closet because bedrooms were sparse with so many family members visiting and not enough space?

Did your two-and-a-half-year-old jump out of her pack-n-play, and you found yourself co-sleeping for the rest of your trip, and now every good sleep habit you worked so hard to establish feels as if it is gone forever?

Maybe your child got sick like mine did with 103.5 for seven days and was so uncomfortable and miserable that he could not sleep. Perhaps you had to hold your child or comfort them because they were having trouble breathing from all the congestion and needed you to help them.

Perhaps somebody in your family thought it was a good idea for all the little cousins to sleep in the same room, but their ages ranged from 6 months to 6 years old. It's not what you wanted, but you felt like you were the bad guy saying no.

These situations can derail your child's sleep when visiting family during the holidays. Sometimes it can be challenging to navigate your child's sleeping situation while away from home.

It may be sickness, space limitations, and the possibility you are around your siblings who have kids, and your parenting could not be more opposite.

It can be hard not to lose your footing and to stay grounded when everything feels overwhelming, especially your child's surprise travel sleep regression. Do not lose hope! It is always possible to make a change.

Parents often feel that getting back on track is impossible when things fall apart, especially if they have gotten off track for an extended period, but that is not true. Your kids are incredibly brilliant and resilient little beings.

Kids are the most adaptable and can learn so fast. The downside is that all it takes is one-night f getting off track for them to learn so fast that thing you do not want to be doing.

If you have already sleep-trained, you know how good it was, and you can return to a sleeping household. If you have not yet sleep trained, having your sleep situation get worse from travel or sickness could be just the inspiration you need to start.

How To Get Back On Track

Sleep Step 1

Get home before you start anything! It's tough to make significant changes if your child is not in their regular environment.

You want to set your child up to succeed, and sleeping in a room with you when that is different from what happens at home will be too confusing. Get home and then start.

Sleep Step 2

If your child got sick during your trip, take them to see their pediatrician. You never know if your child may have developed an ear infection or a virus needing medication.

You want a clean health bill before you start the sleep program or are re-training. You never want to wonder if they are still sick, so getting the A-OK to start will give you peace of mind.

Sleep Step 3

Has your child jumped out of their Pack and Play or their crib? It is crucial to figure out how to deal with this issue because jumping out of the crib can be dangerous. It may be time to get on the internet and order a twin or full-sized bed. I prefer this than to take the side off of the crib.

Make sure you get a railing. Sleep training your toddler in a new big boy bed may be a new venture. Call me to set up a time to talk and craft your new sleep plan!

If you were away and there was a time difference, give it a couple of days before you begin. We want your child to acclimate to the new time. It is time to go for it!

Sleep Step 4

Make a clear decision. You are home, and it is time to go for it. Go over your notes from Little Sleepers and commit. Remember that your child knows how to sleep.

They have not forgotten - they just learned that a different way to sleep could happen! It is like riding a bike. Stay consistent and calm. Your child may take 1-5 days to get back on track.

Sleep Step 5

If you have no notes from Little Sleepers, we have yet to work together! Let's chat, and you can begin your journey of having a fantastic sleeper.

Whatever your current sleep-because-of-travel-and-sickness derailment is - please know that it is possible and absolutely reasonable to get your child sleeping through the night again.


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