Sleeping out can be exciting for a toddler, whether it’s a night away at a hotel or just a slumber party at Grandma’s. However, depending on Baby’s temperament, overnight trips can also be stressful, as they interrupt their routine. In order to ensure a restful night’s sleep in an unfamiliar environment, you’ll want to take some extra steps to help them feel comfortable away from home.
If Baby has an overnight trip coming up, it can be helpful to figure out which pieces of their nightly routine it’ll be hardest for them to do without, and if there’s a way you can manage to bring them with them. Some of the key items that might be comforting for Baby to have around include:
- Blankets: There’s a good chance that wherever you’re staying already have plenty of bedding, but if your toddler is used to snuggling up to a particular blanket at bedtime, being able to find themself under the same weight, same texture, and even the same smell when they pull up a their blanket will help them settle in, even if they're setting into a bed that isn’t their own.
- Pajamas: An overnight outing is not the time to test out that new pair of jammies. Instead, pack the pair Baby loves most, and is always comfortable wearing. The last thing you want is for them to fight sleep because the pajamas are itchy or don’t fit quite right.
- Toothpaste: Of course you’re going to bring Baby’s toothbrush, but it isn’t always as automatic to pack toothpaste – if you’re staying with family, or with a friend, there’s a good chance they have toothpaste there, but even if it is a special toddler toothpaste, which not too many toddler-less adults have hanging around to begin with, if it’s not Baby’s brand of toothpaste, they may object to the unfamiliar taste.
- Silverware and cups: Overnight trips are often accompanied by a meal or two at a restaurant. Be prepared by packing up some of their silverware, as well as a couple of cups, if they isn’t quite ready for a “big kid” cup. Even restaurants with kids’ menus often don’t have child-sized silverware or cups, and is Baby is used to their own size of dishware, if they have to switch over to adult-sized in a hurry, it could start to get messy.
- Books that are part of your routine: If there are a few books that you and Baby always read together before bed, don’t forget to take them along. Baby will still expect their bedtime story, and while you undoubtedly have their favorite stories memorized by now, it’s just not the same without the pictures.
- Stuffed animals or other comfort items: Baby’s teddy bear they can’t do without, or even that one toy train they won’t put down. Whatever their favorite item is, be sure they have access to it throughout your trip. Just don’t forget to bring it back home. Toddlers may be little, but they are not easily duped by replacement items, so make a “heading home” list, too – and check it twice!
Traveling with a toddler comes with its own challenges – there aren’t many adults who get that upset about leaving their blankies at home, after all – but it’s also a lot like traveling with anyone else. Every traveler has a few things they miss about home, and a few things they like to take with them when they’re away. Baby is just learning which parts of their life are theirs.