Bedtime Routine

March 6, 2018 by: Roy Benaroch, MD Article Tags: ,

Q: Graham is 2.5 years old, and every time we travel and he sleeps somewhere other than his crib, he goes crazy. Even if we do his same routine as we do at home (and have even tried packing up his crib to bring with us!), he takes hours to go to sleep, and usually wakes up in the middle of the night screaming; nothing will calm him down. My husband usually ends up driving around with him in the car all night. I keep thinking he will outgrow it, but at almost 3, it is still happening. Any ideas of what we could do to help him sleep away from home so we can still travel?”

A: Graham sounds like he likes his routines. And I’m not so sure you’ll be able to perfectly recreate his home setting and routine when you’re on the road.

Instead, it might help to start the process even before you travel. Have him start sleeping in his travel crib or pack ‘n’ play a week or so before the trip, or mix things up in other ways-maybe move his crib to another part of the room, or even into a different room. Try to make it a fun adventure! Let him choose what “crazy place” to sleep at night. Maybe then the broken routine when you travel won’t seem as jarring.

Roy Benaroch

Roy Benaroch, MD

Roy Benaroch, MD, FAAP is an Associate Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics with Emory University. He has produced several courses exploring medical cases for laymen in his "Medical School for Everyone" lectures, available from The Great Courses, and has also written books for parents and chapters in medical textbooks. He is also on the Board of Directors of The Children's Care Network, one of the largest clinically integrated pediatric care networks in the country. Dr. Benaroch practices general pediatrics near Atlanta, GA.