“Vacations are so relaxing and easy!”—said no parent of young kids. Ever. We recently spent four days in Newport, Oregon, which was lovely but not restful in the least. On top of all the prepping and packing and passing back of 18 varieties of snacks on the drive to the central Oregon coast, neither kid sleeps that well away from home. Somehow, though, despite feeling a bit run down on vacation, my creativity remained intact, and I am now obsessed with the parenting hack I pulled off to make my kids sleep on vacation.
Like on most vacations we take, I couldn’t make my kids sleep on the first night. Although I had brought noise machines and loveys and special blankets, we didn’t have the blackout curtains we rely on at home. Once morning dawned, with both kids wide awake, I knew I had to try something different.
My protests of “it’s too early” didn’t cut it.
Peeper opened the blinds and begged to differ. “Look mama, it’s sunny!” She said. “It’s not too early!” So we spent the early-early morning semi-conscious on the couch, praising the geniuses who invented Saturday morning cartoons.
Then on my way to the drive-through coffee shop (OMG CAFFEINE THANK YOU), I stopped at the dollar store down the street. I’m not sure where the idea came from, but I dropped $2 on aluminum tin foil and pulled off one of my best parenting hacks yet—which not only helped make my kids sleep on vacation but also stopped me from swearing off family vacations entirely. (Win!)
How to make your kids sleep on vacation
Here’s what I did to make my kids sleep on vacation:
I covered each bedroom window with tin foil.
Simple as that.
Now I didn’t do a perfect job. There were little gaps in my aluminum foil shield/magical sleep-making invention, so some sunlight still got in.
But perfect is never the goal round my house; good enough is good enough.
And good enough got both kids to sleep longer—by about 2 hours.
Can I get a YASSSSSS!
My favorite family travel hack yet
When I was executing my master plan to make my kids sleep longer on vacation, I of course made sure to tape the tin foil lightly so I didn’t leave behind sticky goo on the windows. And I took it all down before we checked out of our vacation rental. (Don’t want to lose any security deposit!)
I was a little nervous one of the neighbors would call the home owner about the nutty renters blocking gamma rays with tin foil, but that was a risk I was willing to take the risk to make my kids sleep on vacation.
Because when mama’s happy, everyone’s happy.
So the next time you take a family vacation, don’t resign yourself to early wake-ups and bedtime protests. Just buy a bunch of tin foil—and enjoy the blissful, life-sustaining sleep.
Do you have any tricks to make your kids sleep on vacation—or any other time? What’s your favorite family travel hack?