How to Get Kids to Sleep on Holiday

It's a well known fact that sleep deprivation affects not only our health but our wellbeing too. In fact it is believed to be a form of torture in some countries used to drive their prisoners  mad. We are set up to have about 8 hours of sleep a night unfortunately nobody told the little ones that! 

How to Get Kids to Sleep on Holiday

Sleep Deprivation

It was sleep deprivation that led to my tummy suffering from an accident with boiled water I'm sure. To this day I wonder whether a prep machine would have helped avoid that. I guess we will never know now. 

Night Shifts

My hubby has been asked to work nights in the past but knowing the health implications and the fact that undoubtedly the babies would wake him up deemed it a no go. I feel for those who feel they have no choice in this work situation and are suffering from conditions on set by doing it. 

Out of Kilter

People who include the girls grandfather who works as a chef and whose job leads him to work long hours into the morning. Add to this two tots on holiday out of kilter with their routine and nobody had much sleep that week. The only way our babies were going to sleep that week was in our arms. So there were four in a bed that week and the little one didn't say a word for she was sleeping. 

How to Get Little Ones to Sleep on Holiday

I asked some fellow bloggers how they got their little ones to sleep on holiday and these were their answers: 

  • Stick to the routine as much as possible - LesBeMums
  • Keep to our routine, take the black out blind with us as well as books. It has to feel like home for him so he feels happy going off to sleep - Emma Reed
  •  I just bring the bedtime book we use at home as well as her toddler pillow & a familiar blanket. Then we go through the same bedtime routine (bath, story, milk, bed) - A Mum Track Mind
  • Threats and bribes. That’s pretty much all I've got as a parent to be honest. - Samantha Robinson
  • Knacker them out during the day. Have an extra run around after dinner even, so holiday sleep is the best sleep they've ever had - DaddiLife
  • We adjust the routine to suit the holiday but keep it the same for everyday and stick to it (as far as possible) so they know and we what's happening. - My Boys Club
  •  Try an implement a routine as close to what you do at home as possible! It's easier said than done though so I try and tire them out as much as possible during the day! - Soph-Obsessed
  • Download Night Garden and Bedtime Story onto a tablet to recreate your normal wind down time - ThriftyMum
  • A family get-together nixes your baby’s nap time - Some babies and toddlers find it difficult to settle down for naps when they’re in an unfamiliar place. If this seems to be the problem, do your best to carve out some downtime alone with your child. This way, you’ll both get a bit of a break, even if your child doesn't actually fall asleep.- The Homemakers Journal
  • We relax all routines on holiday and just go with the flow. They usually are so tired that we don't have any problems. - BabyNotIncluded 

  • Stick to our routine as much as possible and always, always remember our Ewan the Dreamsheep. Almost 4 years on he's still going strong and has travelled to every location our son has including New York and Yellowstone National Park! - Passports and Adventures
  • Mine won't sleep on holiday, we've spent many a painful hour sitting on beds missing out on holiday time so we just go with the flow and they fall asleep when they fall asleep! Sounds ridiculous but makes our holiday a lot less stressful - All about a Mummy
  • I do our usual routine but let my son go to sleep in our bed and then transfer him across to the travel cot once he’s asleep. He sleeps in a toddler bed usually but is too little to sleep in a full sized bed, and absolutely hates travel cots so this is the only solution to get him to sleep! - Louise Miller
  • We don't do anything in particular. He just sleeps. The only hard thing is that generally he's sharing a room with me. So I sit in the dark reading for a bit or on the laptop til he's asleep and can turn the lights back on. - Bubbablue and me
  • We are usually on the go all day. By the evening, we're all tired and the kids go to sleep quite well after story time. So don't let them rest during the day! - Household Money Saving
  • We always play white noise at bedtime so when on holiday we do the same on our iPads or phones. This helps them to know it’s bedtime and it helps mask any noisy holiday noises. - nomipalony
  •  I took her teddies, books and blanket with us and stuck to her routine as much as possible! The only difference was she was going to bed an hour or so later than normal! - Readaraptor

Thank you fellow bloggers. It seems that everyone has their own unique way of dealing with this situation. Now it's over to you the reader  - How would you deal with getting your child to sleep on holiday?

Mission MindfulnessEthannEvelynTwo Tiny HandsRhyming with WineMrs Mummy HarrisReflectionsfrommePink Pear Bear


  1. Thanks for including us. Amazing to see the different ways it works for different families. Just goes to show each child is different from the rest.

  2. We've only had one holiday when Eva was just over a year old, she settled quite well thankfully. #familyfunlinky

  3. I think we all do better with a routine. Sticking to the "norm" during a vacation probably helps them sleep better.

  4. We've never done anything special. More a case of go with the flow. When they were babies and toddlers, they slept in their sleeping bags where ever they were, so it felt no different. I'm a big believer in lots of fresh and activity leading to a good nights sleep. True even now they are older. #MMBC

  5. There are some really great tips and ideas here, I always say that routine is the key to successful bedtimes, but being on holiday is totally different #truamphanttales@_karendennis

  6. Lots of great tips here including mine. Thanks! #explorerkids


  7. This is great loads of fab tips for getting them to sleep I think trying to keep to their night time routine as much as possible is a winner #explorerkids
    Mandy xxx

  8. Hi Helena, anything less than seven hours sleep and my brain refuses to work. I can do the odd late night, but continuous late nights and early mornings, make me not a happy bunny, as I learned this summer. You've shared some great tips there. Routine is essential for children and trying not to break it on holiday may be tricky but does pay back as does tiring the little loves out.

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.


  9. I agree that keeping to a routine, even if quite loosely, really helps. Though, having said that, whenever we go away, mine usually sleeps like a dream at bedtime. Thanks so much for sharing with the #dreamteam x

  10. What a useful post! I could have done with reading this three nights ago! we've just got back from Stockholm and our daughter hardly slept a wink!!

  11. We had a hard time travelling with babies, but now that the girls are older we use the "go with the flow" approach. I don't especially love going to bed at 8pm, but if we're sharing a hotel room, I do. I try to remember my reading light so I can get a few pages in after the girls fall asleep!

  12. It's never easy to do but a agree sticking sticking to a routine in key. Sarah #ExplorerKids

  13. We let the kids stay up later on holiday as we generally eat later but we follow the same routine of milk and stories with our youngest. Last time the kids were sharing a bed so inevitably they kept each awake being daft but it never lasted long and we were just relaxed about it and left them too it, they settled eventually and we never really had any problems.
    Thank you for joining #FamilyFunLinky

  14. When ours were little it just felt like a nightmare to try and get them to sleep on holidays. Even with keeping a familiar routine they still just felt insecure in a different environment. Now it is easy, they are older (my baby just turned eight) so they love holidays and sleep just fine wherever we go. #mg

  15. Our first holiday was horrendous, Reuben just did not sleep and we ended up cutting ours short and went home. We now prepare. We spend sometime in the apartment so they can get used to their surroundings a bit and take familiar things. It is much easier! #TriumphantTales

  16. Some brilliant tips there! I tend to make everyone (including us!) have some quiet time/naps in the day to counteract all the late nights that inevitably come from holidays. Thanks for being a fab linker this week. #bigpinklink

  17. We’ve been lucky I think whilst away. I think we’ve done that much during the day they have been ok at night. We also try to stick to routine as much as possible x

  18. I know what you mean about sleep deprivation - we are really suffering at the moment - poor you with the accident with the hot water. There's some really good advice here - when ours were babies we deffo stuck to routines. However as they're a little older now relaxing routines certainly does work for us - especially with the eldest - oh and lots of swimming to tire them out! xx #thesatsesh

  19. These are great tips. We went to camping in the rain one weekend during the summer and it was horrible! The kids just won't sleep! Lol!

    Thanks for linking up with us on #ExplorerKids.


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