The Setback: A disruption to your routine
Whether it's a vacation or a weeklong visit from the cousins, getting out of the bedtime routine can ruin even the best of sleepers. For Katie Miller, of New York City, the combination of travel, birthday parties, and the holidays was more than her son could bear. "Henry wasn't a great sleeper to begin with, and then around his second birthday in mid-December, he got completely overstimulated," says Miller. First he stopped napping, she says, then he took an hour to fall asleep, woke up every hour and wouldn't settle back down, and was crawling out of the crib and getting up at 5 a.m. "Even once we got back from our trip, it went on for about a month."
Your Good-Night Solutions
Acclimate quickly. If your itinerary has you crossing time zones, adjust your child's schedule as soon as you can. "A week before you leave, either stay up or get to sleep about 15 minutes earlier, depending on which way you're traveling," says Breus. Continue every day until your departure. Once you're at your destination, set your schedule to the local time zone. "Kids don't adjust nearly as well as adults, so be patient," he warns.
Get 'em tired. "Make sure there's some physical release, especially if they've been sitting for a long time," Komisar says. Being active will also help release stress and encourage a healthy night's sleep.
Reboot upon return. "I learned from my mother: when you get off schedule, have a 'reset' night -- with an extra-early bedtime -- to reestablish the routine," says Dr. Weissbluth.