Family Travel Sleep Tips for Kids on the Open Road

Tips to help kids nap on roadtrips

We’ve all played endless rounds of I spy with my little eye or had sing-a-longs on road trips, but sometimes the easiest thing for everyone involved is for the kids to sleep peacefully in the back seat. If the trip is short enough and relative to their normal nap time, crafting it so that your little darlings fall asleep might just be the best thing to do. Even with toddlers who no longer take naps, the lull of the engine purring out on the open road could very well send them off to lala land.

The upside to the kids napping on the road is that they’ll arrive well-rested at the other end. The bonus is that both navigator and driver will get a chance to catch up without interruptions from the little people. When’s the last time you talked with your significant other without a littlie asking for something to eat, drink, or some other request? We took an easy hour and a half drive to Mt Laurel, New Jersey over Easter and this worked a charm for me and Mr BAM.

How to have sleeping sweeties on road trips

  1.  Before you leave, make sure your toddler makes a potty stop and that babies in diapers have been freshly changed.
  2. Put pillows, blankets and favorite snuggly stuffed animals in the back seat.
  3. Swap out the local pop station for a lullaby CD. I love the Rockabye Baby CDs which are lullaby versions of tons of great music parents like, such as Bob Marley, Green Day, Kanye West and my personal fave U2.
  4. Schedule your departure just before nap time.
  5. If your kids normally sleep well on a full tummy, then make sure you have the snack/milk all ready to go. Consider a natural snack without sugar – last thing you want is to experience a sugar spike from a kid all hopped up on sugar in the confined space of a car.
  6. A car sunshade is also a good idea to shade sleepy eyes from the rays.
  7. If you need to stop while out on the road leave the car running, that may be enough to keep the kids asleep. And always make sure there is an adult in the car, don’t leave the kids in the backseat alone.

Just remember that the adults need to be well-rested and alert for the drive, and because your littlies will be rested once you arrive, be prepared to take them somewhere where they can burn energy. So if you’re over entertaining the kids on the road or listening to their fave TV show/movie for over an hour, why not try this next time.

Do you prefer when your kids sleep on road trips? Or do you prefer playing travel games?



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9 Responses to Family Travel Sleep Tips for Kids on the Open Road
  1. Gena
    April 2, 2013 | 8:45 pm

    For some reason my kids have a 45 minute limit in the car, which stinks, but it’s enough to take the edge off, I suppose. Great tips!
    Gena recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: April Showers Bring….MUD!My Profile

    • Ghada V
      April 2, 2013 | 8:51 pm

      Thanks, Gena. We don’t get in the car that often these days, as we only rent when we need to, but without fail that can sleep as long as the car is moving.

  2. Mickey Coutts
    April 2, 2013 | 9:40 pm

    Great tips! We have 1 great sleeper, but the other 2 are hard to get to sleep. We’ll try your tips next time. :)

  3. Chelsea @ Someday I'll Learn
    Twitter: somedayilllearn
    April 2, 2013 | 10:38 pm

    I’m taking a coastal road trip with my 2-year-old and 9-month-old this summer. I’m going to need these tips!
    Chelsea @ Someday I’ll Learn recently posted..Brand Loyalty, the Bottom Line and BigelowMy Profile

  4. mel
    April 2, 2013 | 11:54 pm

    I love when they sleep in the car because they are both young and can make a ruckas when they are awake. With Hayley, we do play games in the car:)

  5. Dede
    Twitter: savinginseconds
    April 3, 2013 | 6:54 am

    So true!! My kids never seem to sleep in the car anymore (ages 3 and 8). They even stayed awake on the 12 hour ride home from Disney. At least we have a DVD player in the van.
    Dede recently posted..On My Bookshelf: The Christian Mama’s Guide to the Grade School YearsMy Profile

  6. Michelle
    Twitter: Divatude
    April 3, 2013 | 7:24 pm

    Great information! We’ll be travelling to visit the in-laws soon (15+ hours) … Calgon take me away!!!
    Michelle recently posted..Setting personal and financial goalsMy Profile

  7. natalie parvis
    May 12, 2013 | 7:58 pm

    We haven’t had a real road trip with my little one yet. We want to move all the way across the country though. Should be interesting!!

  8. Maxi Cab Singapore
    August 23, 2013 | 8:10 pm

    If you are coming from a long tour there is need to take sleep !! If you will not be sleep then you then you heath will decreases !!

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KiwiCanadian expat adventures with my husband and 2 kids from life in New Zealand to New York and back again. Adventures in inspired family living, travel, health & fitness.Read More »