You just had an amazing vacation!!! Maybe you’re headed home and you’re like.. I need to get back to my sleep expectations! It’s time to get back to schedules and routines and real life.
Today I’m giving you my 2 strategies on getting sleep back on track after you’re home from your vacation. You’ve had an amazing trip, but now it’s back to reality, back to sleep schedules, and back to keeping sleep a thing!
We’ve covered the packing list, handling the travel day, and now we’re getting into what to do now that you’re back from vacation!
I cannot even tell you how many times I’ve gotten emails or frantic texts from clients over the years and they would say, “Oh my gosh, things are terrible!! What do I do?? We just got home from Disney (or we just got home from the beach)!!!”
And you know what? Those were amazing memories that you made and now you’re HOME and things can feel really wonky. But you can get back on track!! Your baby will sleep independently again, your child will go to bed at a normal time. It will happen!!
But if you’re sitting here thinking that you never DID have something that worked, let me invite you to check out my free 4 Steps to Solving Night Wakings course!! You can watch this and implement it TONIGHT and begin getting an even better night’s sleep than you got before your vacation! Click here to learn more!
STRATEGY 1: IMPLEMENT YOUR NORMAL BEDTIME ROUTINE
Sometimes when you’re away on vacation, you may have been sharing a bathroom or a bedroom and you didn’t do the consistent bedtime routine every night.
The night that you get home, jump right back into your normal routine.
A bedtime routine for a baby can consist of a bath, a diaper change, putting lotion and jammies on, having a feed, reading a book, and saying goodnight.
Whatever your bedtime routine is, just come back and jumpstart it.
Why?! Those cues are SO ingrained in your baby!!
Even if you’ve been gone for a week, when you get home and they immediately hit that bath water, they know what’s coming next. They have the steps as a cue inside their body.
So, getting right back into that bedtime routine on Night 1 will be hugely helpful!
Bonus tip: Night 1 is a BUFFER night. Do NOT feel like you have to jump right back into the same sleep expectations as you had before you left. Night 1 could be a little bit rocky!! Hopefully everything’s fine when you get back home, but it may not be. So give everyone some grace and don’t expect things to be immediately back to normal.
STRATEGY 2: RESTART YOUR SLEEP TRAINING PROGRAM
On Night 2, your child may still be feeling a little disoriented on where they are and how they sleep. So if they are forgetting those pre-vacation habits, then you’re going to restart your sleep training program.
Whether that means you did the Leave & Check Method, Stay in the Room, you bought a sleep training course, you follow a book model or you have our courses… you’re going to restart that!
I mention this a lot (“If things are rocky, just restart your plan!”) and here’s why: Restarting your sleep training plan is going to kick back into gear the expectations that your baby has!
Those expectations are still in their brain somewhere, but it’s very easy to get off track with habits.
So hypothetically, if you were on vacation for a week and for some reason the place that you were staying lost its heat and you had to grab your young toddler and snuggle with them so you could have body heat (okay, that was me haha!!), then as soon you get home, after a buffer night, implement the methods you originally sleep trained them with.
If you need to remind your baby or your child how we sleep after that buffer night, then kickstart that sleep training plan again! Go back to whatever method you originally used and if you didn’t have a method, great! I’ve got plenty for you!
For most babies, this doesn’t mean needing to go back through the entire 2-week plan. You’re likely going to implement this for 3-4 nights and then BOOM, baby’s back on track and everything’s smooth sailing! Every baby’s different, so this is no guarantee, but it will likely take less time than the first time you sleep trained.
Night 1: Do the bedtime routine as usual. Know that the night may be rocky, it’s a buffer night!
Night 2: If last night was rocky, then restart your sleep training program. You’re going to jump right back into those sleep habits and expectations of independent sleep AND the sleep schedule. Remind your baby what your habits are.
BONUS STRATEGY… FOR THE PARENTS
If I can plug something else in here, this is for YOU, for the parents.
You planned this vacation. You put a lot into this! You probably lost sleep!! Just like your baby. And you’re exhausted!!
You know that sentiment that when you travel with your kid, it’s more just taking care of them in another place? I get that. I feel that.
So, listen y’all: go to bed early yourself!! You’re going to need to catch back up! Travel is EXHAUSTING. Being on vacation may not be restorative sometimes. You’ve got those memories and that’s great, but you’re probably tired!
Choose an earlier bedtime for yourself to rest and recover!
Sometimes it can take up to a week to feel like you’re FINALLY back on track. Give everybody this gracious week as you get back into your habits and rest up after vacation!
And remember, if you’re ready to kickstart those independent sleep habits, don’t forget to grab my free 4 Steps to Solve Your Baby’s Night Wakings course here!
Celebrate those happy memories, and sweet dreams!
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