Categories: Sleep Science

Snoozing on the Go: Tips to Get Your Kids Napping in the Car

As summer is dwindling down, maybe you and your family are hoping to take one last “hurrah” trip. Tomorrow, I’ll be spending eight hours in the car with my family as we do just that. While sleeping as the driver is never a good idea, for the kids and other passengers, napping in the car is the best situation. Babies never seem to have trouble falling asleep in the car but as you get older, sleeping in the car never seems to be accomplished quite as easily. (Let’s face it, to kids, nap time in the car is still nap time!) We’ve got some tips for you today on getting your best sleep, even if you’re away from your comfortable latex mattress for the night.

WikiHow has some great tips for sleeping in the car:

Plan ahead – Make sure to set up the car the night before you plan to leave. Make sure all bags are packed, and fill the car with gas so you do not have to make an early pit stop.

Stick to their schedules – While it can be difficult, try your best to stick to your children’s routine so that nap time in the car can be similarly timed to their nap time at home. It will help them fall asleep faster in the car.

Shade it up – It’s helpful to install a sunshade on the kids’ window(s) to keep the glare out of her eyes and also to allow their bodies to not be stimulated by sunlight. (Just as blinds work in their rooms during nap time).

“Pacify” them – If your child is an infant, stock several pacifiers in an easily accessible location, if your baby uses one. They are easily lost in the car when a fussy baby throws it during a fit.

Sounds of sleep – Create or bring a CD or playlist of soothing music or white noise. Not only can it help lull your kids to sleep and keep them calm, but the steady noise of music can mask sudden road noise or conversations from other passengers.

Don’t forget the juice – Bring cartons of juice or water (with as little sugar as possible) with you on the road. Drinking in a sippy cup or a bottle can often put a waking baby right back to sleep.

Wake the sun – While it seems daunting, plan to get up early to take advantage of hours your kids normally sleep. Since it will still be dark, they should go right back to sleep once settled in the car and just think, you’ll be their even earlier than you’d originally planned!

Get it started – Start the car before you move your kids out of bed and into the car. If it is cold outside, let the car warm up, and throw their favorite blankets in the dryer for a few minutes. The warm blanket will keep them snug on the way to the car, and it can ward off the chill when you tuck your child into the car.

Skip the breaks in the morning – Avoid stopping often in the morning, when your kids are most likely to be sleeping.

Take longer lunch breaks – Take longer breaks for meals, allowing your child to run, crawl or walk around to burn off energy, so they can nap when you are back in the car.

Hopefully, these tips will help you have a fun, safe and peaceful journey so you and your family can enjoy the destination even more! Happy and sleepy traveling!

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