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Do you really need to keep a routine on holiday?

Holiday season is here and long gone are the Covid restrictions! You may be getting ready to pack those bags and getting away for a week or two. But what happens with your child’s schedule on holiday? Do you need to stick to it and if so why and how can you perhaps work around it? After all it is holiday time and you want to be flexible and have fun, perhaps have long days at the beach or go out for dinner with the family.

In this blog today I am going to explain this all for you and the hows and whys so you know exactly what to do and what to expect on your holiday!

If your baby is in a good routine you may think sticking to routine on holiday may sound a little OTT, after all it is a holiday so why do you need to be so ridged? Put simply your baby still has the same sleep needs on holiday as they do at home. Possibly slightly more if they have had long active days on the beach and some late nights! Heat makes us tired and there is a lot of over stimulation for babies and children on holiday.

If your baby gets out of routine on holiday then you can expect a little turbulence with sleep during your time away and possibly on your return home.

You don’t want to be dealing with the fall back of an overtired baby on holiday or when you get home have to work on sleep training and getting back into routine so here are my top tips below on how to manage a routine on holiday!

1. Before you go away

Ensure you have those black out blinds packed! Gro Anywhere Blackout Blinds are a great option but do take some packing tape to tape up those gaps between the suckers! And don’t laugh but tin foil really works just as well! If you wipe the window with a damp cloth the foil will stick perfectly well to it! Great for those awkward shaped windows!

Take your white noise machine with you and a portable one for those day naps on the go.

2. On arrival at destination

You may need to recreate your child’s bedroom just as it is at home, well as much as you can! So that means getting those blackouts up on the window, have the white noise machine plugged in.

If you are sharing a room with your child and this is not the norm you may like to get creative here and try have a partition by moving some furniture around if possible. Have your child's cot as far from your bed as possible if you are concerned they will want into your bed at some point. Especially if you have recently sleep trained and moved away from bed sharing.

You may like to check out the SnoozeShade as they have an option to cover the crib so it is dark as the day is long! Use the code RachaelWilson10 to get a referral discount of 10% automatically! Your welcome!

You can also be as creative as utilising a bathroom or walk in cupboard as a bedroom. This is especially a great idea of you have siblings and prefer they don’t share a room on holiday and the space is there.

3. The day of travel will be long.

Naps may go out the window. That's okay and expected. Go with it.

Everyone is tired after a day of travel and so will your little one. The temperature may also be warmer than they are used to. It may be a late night also. What I recommend is you jump back on that routine you have worked so well on at home the very next day. Get onto local time right on day 1 of your holiday. Just because you are on holiday does not mean your child needs less sleep. Especially in the first few days so if they need to have a nap a little earlier or a little longer than the norm that is okay. It may work in your favour if you are planning dinner out in the evening.

Your child will need time to adjust to the new environment so expect a couple of night’s disruption while you ease into it.

4. Once you feel ready...

To rock these holiday days then absolutely have a few day trips and naps on the go. Try to spread out the day trips over the holiday or your baby still gets some cot naps in. On the go naps are fine but cot naps tend to be deeper and more peaceful.

Of course you can play about with routine a little, enjoy day trips and dinner out by the beach… but just don’t overdo it and not every day. I recommend to have perhaps 1 or 2 days off routine t a time and then have a couple days back on it. Then repeat!

5. Bedtime routine still needs to be the same as it is at home.

Why? Because this is a sign the end of the day is here. The night has arrived and it is soon time to sleep. Perhaps you have had a late dinner out and it is holiday time so of course why not but do try to give your little one what I like to call a “bird bath” when back at your accommodation, it is going to be late so a bath may not be totally called for but by going to the bathroom and wiping down hands, face, body still gives your child an indication bedtime is soon! A switch of mode if you like!

Then into bedroom, and finish off with pyjamas, a little sing song, cuddle and sleep!

--WARNING—don’t expect your child to sleep in the next day because they had a late night! In fact the opposite is more likely to happen and wake early. This is down to the late bedtime and rise on cortisol and their circadian rhythm is set to wake at their usual time.

Holidays are for fun, family and relaxation so if you have had a long active day at the beach or a day trip don’t worry about popping your little one down early doors. A 6pm bedtime may even be a great move so you can have a nice long evening with the grownups of the family or go out on a date night with your partner!

Do you need to take all the baby paraphernalia with you? Nope! Have you ever thought about hiring all the equipment you may need at your destination? Check out this website

Here where you can find your destination in Europe and it has a list of the companies you can contact for hiring your essentials you just don’t want to pack!

So there we have it! Holidays and routine!

I hope you have a great trip away, enjoy the sunshine and family time!

Why not share some holiday snaps with me over on my Instagram page and tag me in! We all love to see the sun and sand and those mega sandcastles and of course how sleep is going!

Peaceful nights to you all,


Your Paediatric Sleep Consultant


(Disclaimer This blog post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the items you will not be charged extra, I just will earn a few pennies form the sale!)


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