Sweet dreams, sleepyheads
It can be tricky to get your little ones off to sleep when they’re away from home and out of their everyday routine. Staying in a new environment is exciting and those inquisitive little minds don’t want to miss a thing!
So we asked bedtime experts The Children’s Sleep Charity if they could share their top sleep tips with us to help your kids nod off in no time, wherever they are. As a charity that works extensively with families, they know the importance of a great night’s sleep in helping you get the most from your day.
In a new environment, kids want something familiar so take their favourite toy or blanket to help your child feel comfortable and at home.
Although you might not be able to do everything as you would at home, try to include an element of your routine, such as reading a bedtime story.
Fine motor skill activities help children relax before bed, so take advantage of the colouring packs in our restaurants to get a head-start on bedtime.
Screens interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes us sleepy. It’s best to switch off the box an hour before bedtime to help little ones nod off.
A lovely time to wind down, a warm bath 30 minutes before bedtime is proven to be really effective in getting your little ones off to sleep.
Repetition is key
Staying away from home can be hugely exciting for little ones. You need to clearly signal to them that it is sleep time. Try a calming phrase like ‘It’s night time, go to sleep’ and keep repeating it.
Dim the lights
Switch off some lights and make use of Premier Inn’s blackout curtains to help with that all-important melatonin production.
Plan your dinner time so that you don’t eat too early that your child is hungry by bedtime or too late that they’re uncomfortably full.
Caffeine and sugar play havoc with bedtime so try to steer little ones away from sugar loaded desserts and cola and opt for fruit and water in the evening instead.
Bedtime tips from top bloggers
We’ve also asked top parenting bloggers for their advice on how to get kids off to sleep when they’re staying away from home. Here are some brilliant bedtime tips from the mums and dads who’ve been there, done that, and survived!
“If your child usually goes to sleep at 7.00-7.30 this isn’t really going to happen in a hotel, the best thing is to embrace the extra time. We still get our girls ready for bed but we’ll then all gather on the bed and play a game that we’ve brought with us or watch a film. They’ll enjoy the extra time and be more likely to go to sleep when asked.”
“Fresh air and lots of exercise are always key to inducing sleep with my kids so even if we have travelled a long way and are shattered I do try to at least get a walk in before we settle down. We once drove all the way down to Cornwall and the kids had been cooped up for hours. We ensure we walked for a good hour after getting out the car and they went from restless and agitated to relaxed and happy. Such a simple thing but so important to helping a child unwind.”
“Unless we are travelling for a specific evening event, we always like to eat dinner either in the hotel, or within walking distance of the hotel. This makes sure that the girls haven't got the opportunity to fall asleep in the car on the way back to the hotel. The transition from car to hotel room can often result in everyone feeling wide awake again.”
“It might be tempting to let your child have a long lie-in in the morning but it will make it harder on them to adjust to their new surroundings if you do.”
“Quite often, the kids can’t settle because you are still in the room which isn’t the norm for home. Whenever travelling with children I like to get them into bed and then spend an hour in the bath with a glass of wine and my book!”