Brought to you by Nuffnang and Disney Junior
For little kids, holidays mean lots of time with mum and dad doing super fun things, but they can also mean disruption to their routines and discomfort with unfamiliar surroundings. A child who sleeps well at home may have trouble getting off to sleep and staying asleep when in a different bed in a different room and all the new sights and sounds that that can bring.
Taking some of the familiarity and comforts of home with you can help your child feel relaxed and happy enough to settle well into their new environment and sleep on holiday. These are the things that we have had success with –
1. Night light
For us the first night in a new location would inevitably mean the kids waking upset during the night. Waking up sleepy and disoriented in a strange bed and room is a bit scary. A soft light so they can see and remember where they are can make all the difference. Bring whatever they’re used to at home, or if that’s not practical a night light can make a world of difference. Place it next to their bed if possible.
2. Cuddle toy
I think it would be lovely to have a soft toy to cuddle on the odd occasion when I’m going to bed alone. I can imagine the comfort and reassurance that it must give the kids. Especially when it is a special friend that they’re used to from their bed at home. My kids have never had a strong bond with any particular cuddle toy, but they always like to choose one or two to take on holiday. They like to have them sit next to them on the plane or in the car, then in bed with them at night. It’s like a constant loving friend by their side.
Maintaining the bedtime routine that they have at home is comforting to your child when on holiday. Even if bedtime is a lot later than normal or they’ve had a huge day and are exhausted, still try to follow your home routine of pjs, teeth, story, bed. If you adapt your usual routine to your new circumstances, then try to maintain it each night of your holiday.
I have a friend whose daughter’s allergies mean she packs her own bedlinen and pillow to avoid problems. But even without allergies, taking the pillowcase off their pillow from home (ie not a clean one) can give your child that familiar comforting look, feel and smell that can really help them to relax.
5. Read a favourite book
Listening to a story before bed is something my kids always insist on no matter how late it is or how exhausted they are. It is the perfect way to have some calm time together before sleep to end the day in a positive way. Since this routine is something that most kids are used to, it makes sense to continue with it on holiday.The Disney Junior “Book of Once Upon a Time” is brand new this week. It is an absolutely adorable story-telling series featuring much-loved Disney characters. It is a locally-produced interactive series hosted by award-winning Australian actor and playwright Kate Mulvany. Stories air every weekday evening on Disney Junior The Channel, at 7.10pm (AEDT) (channel 709 on Foxtel). It is also available online here at any time and via the Disney Story Central app, available to download from iTunes.
Kate is fab. She has a way of talking to the kids which I love. Not condescending, but engaging and expressive. And she does the voices! (Which I can be a bit slack with.)
As much as I love reading aloud, I’ve done it most nights for 8 years, so I’ve been really enjoying being able to listen to the stories with the kids. You get stories that you haven’t heard before, but with characters that you’re familiar with. Sometimes I feel a bit stuck in a rut, especially when the kids want the same book day in day out, so this is lovely and relaxing. Snuggle up on the couch and watch it on the big screen or lie down in bed together and watch it on your iPad.
I love how Kate leaves you with a question at the end of the story to stimulate the imagination. Like “If you could do anything with your friends, what would it be?” Talking about this makes for a few minutes of entertaining conversation as you say goodnight. I like to think it leaves them with happy thoughts going through their heads as they go to sleep.
So far we’ve enjoyed the premiere episode of the new season, “Snow White and the Great Jewel Hunt”, and “Olaf’s Summer Day”. They’re both so sweet and the mixture of picture book, animation and live action from Kate is really endearing. Later episodes will include new Disney stories from “Winnie the Pooh”, “Aladdin”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “Tangled”.
This is “Snow White and the Great Jewel Hunt” –
I particularly love in this story that you can either let the story wash over you, or you can pause and think together about which rhyming word might be the one that fits into the clue.
Incorporating “The Book of Once Upon A Time” stories into your child’s bedtime routine is really enjoyable, especially if you have a trip coming up. Most likely you will take your iPad with you on holiday anyway, so watching these stories together while you’re away also means avoiding the weight of packing a pile of books. They will soon become something lovely that the kids are familiar with and associate with the comforting environment of home.
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Do your kids sleep ok on holiday?
What gives them comfort when they’re feeling a bit scared?