Oh, how we do like to sleep in our family, my girlfriend and I have always enjoyed going to bed early and staying in bed late, some days not always. We don’t use an alarm clock at home, and we sleep until we wake every day.
Our kids are learning it from us, and we are working on making them love to sleep as much as we do. But with toddlers and young children, it is not always easy to get them to sleep, especially in a new place, and here are some of the things that we recommend trying.
How to Get a Toddler to Sleep in a Hotel? When sleeping in a hotel room, you only have a certain amount of space. In most hotels, you can request a spare adult bed instead of a kid-sized bed. We have learned that, when sleeping away from home, it is easier for toddlers to sleep with one parent, and to have the other parent sleep on the extra bed.
This, of course, might not do the trick for you, but closeness does help a lot with getting your kids to sleep, when you are not at home, they just want to feel safe, and remember how you also do sleep at best, when you are at home.
That’s just the same way, the kids are feeling, so why not make it as comfortable, cozy and secure for them as possible?
3 Ways: How to Get a Toddler to Sleep in a Hotel!
I’ll start this blog post off, with a disclaimer as to how we sleep as a family, and how this might not apply to your family.
We are used to co-sleeping, we live in a small house in Denmark, and we share the bedroom with our two kids -a just turned 3-year old boy, and a 5-months old baby girl-.
Of course, as you read this, this might have changed, but we have slept with our son, in our bedroom, since he was born.
We were actually forced to co-sleep, because of our son, he just can not sleep without the comfort of his parents being in the same room, and we couldn’t bear the thought of him crying.
So we decided to embrace it, our bed is stapled together of 3 single beds, making it a gigantic 270 cm wide, or 107 inches wide.
The disclaimer is, that we are used to sleeping in the same room as our kids, and we actually enjoy and embrace it. I can only provide you with tips, that is based on our experience, but maybe it is worth something for you.
No. 1: The Sitting Bear Hug.
This is actually a technique I have used last night, prior to writing this, we were sleeping at my in-law’s house, and my son did not want to sleep, and he was crying a lot.
But I knew he was very, very tired. You, as a parent, know exactly how it is, having a kid that just do not want to sleep, but at the same time is just really really tired.
I do sadly not have a picture of this technique, so I’ll try to describe it, the best I can.
When my son is sad, he likes to be carried and hugged, he put his head on my shoulder and I carry the full weight of my 14 kg son, on one arm and I stroke his hair carefully.
I go around for some minutes and bounce a little and do the “ssshuusss” sound. When he starts to relax, I will sit on the side of the bed, and use the support of the bed to carry his weight and use the springs of the bed, to bounce a little.
My Son starts to sweat and breathe heavily when he is falling asleep, and when he does that, I’ll stop the bouncing and get a blanket with the one arm, and tuck him in, while still sitting with him.
I know, I’m sorry, it is so hard to explain in text, but this technique just works for us.
When he is sleeping and sitting with me, I just lay down backward and roll him off one side, and lay by his side, for a minute or two, until I know he is deeply asleep.
Now I can exit the room, for example, to go to the balcony of the Hotel-room, to enjoy playing cards with my girlfriend and maybe get a late night drink, before going to sleep ourselves.
No. 2: Extra Adult Bed, Instead of a Kid-Sized Bed
This is an extension of the above-mentioned tactic, as co-sleepers, we enjoy changing out the extra kid-sized bed, with an adult-sized bed.
Most Hotels will likely be able to accommodate this, for free, but some might charge you a little extra, in my opinion, it is worth it.
We enjoy pushing the extra bed close to the double-bed which in many hotels, is also just two single beds pushed together.
This might be a thing that does not apply to you, you might have a kid that kicks you in the mouth a night, but then you can move the extra bed, some few centimeters away from the bed when the kid is sleeping, but not before.
No. 3: Embrace Co-Sleeping and Change Daily Routines
Changing the daily routines of our kid, was one thing we needed to do, the last time we were on vacation with a toddler. Check it out here: vacation in Bulgaria described and reviewed.
What I mean by changing the routine is, when we are at home, the daily routine would be to get up at 7.00 in the morning, and for our kid to have a nap at 12.00 and to get to bed at 19.00 at the evening.
But for a vacation, this could easily, and with great success be changed for the vacation. And I’ll try to explain why.
When we were in Bulgaria, it was in the early summer season, where it was quite cold, early in the morning, but from 10.00 to midnight, it was warm and actually quite hot at 19.00, and as you might also experience, it is harder to get your kid to sleep in a warm hotel room.
We started pushing the nap to 14, and then 15.00 and then getting to bed at night at 21.00, and at that time, we could all go to bed at the same time, which makes it a lot easier for the kids to understand that it is sleep time.
It is also more likely to be colder and darker outside.
And as a side effect, our kid started sleeping to about 08.00 or 09.00 in the morning. We made sure to get up early so that we could co-sleep again at 21-22 at night.
We used the time to go out and enjoyed some coffee at the balcony of our hotel, with the curtain pulled away, so that our son could see us when he woke up.
This made for a really nice daily routine at the end of the week, and we did not have any arguments about sleepy-time, and both parents and our son had a nice vacation.
Other Tips for Sleeping With a Toddler in a Hotel Room
#1 Turn the A/C Down at night, and up during the day
If you are not used to traveling to hot countries, and you are not used to having air condition in your hotel room, then you might be inclined to turn up the air conditioner, and by turning up, I mean setting the temperature to very low.
This is nice to do, during the day, so that you have a nice cold bedroom, but during the night, you should turn the fan down and the temperature to a maintaining temperature.
TIP: Turn off the air-condition cooling feature, and just have the fan running.
Both you and especially your toddler is likely to get sick by the cold drafts at night. As you can see from the photo at the top, and as you might already know, kids throw off their blanket at night, I don’t know why, but they do.
#2 Keep a routine
This goes against my tip in part one of this post, but then again, it does not, it’s about shifting the routine to co-sleeping-mode, but still do have a routine, kids thrive by routine, and when kids thrive, you will have a much better vacation.
#3 Get at two-room hotel apartment instead of a single room
And a balcony! Do always get a nice big balcony in the hotel room, when staying with kids. But if you stay in a country where it is cold at night or cold in the mornings, then go for a spare room.
If you do embrace co-sleeping at your vacation, then it is nice with a spare room and especially a balcony to stay at, when you are awake and your toddler is not.
If you are able to get your kid to sleep early, you will enjoy the balcony or the extra room at night. If you get up earlier, then it is nice to enjoy a cup of coffee in a spare room.
All in all, it is a bit more expensive to be comfortable with kids, and even with toddlers, when staying at a hotel, but the extra dollars spent, will most likely be well worth it.
Some Last Words about Sleeping with Toddlers
It is not rocket science, but it is just frustrating to argue with kids about when it is sleepy time, and when it is not.
The way we do it, might not work for you, and to be completely honest, it does not work for us all the time, but we use this strategy all the time, and if we stick to it, it seems to generally work.
My best advice and final words are, enjoy the time and embrace your kid’s needs. Do not try to fight the kid and you might want to turn down the raising and educating parent role, and then just take the weeks of vacation on according to the needs of the children.