If you’ve been following along here at Chasing Walt, you probably know by now that I am all for planned non-park days. These can create some much needed relaxation time during a very busy trip. Now if you are travelling with a toddler or preschooler they’re likely going to need to nap on these days. Going to sleep at night in a different bed, in a strange environment can be hard. But, this can normally be defeated by exhaustion from a busy day at the parks. For naps, you may find a bit of a fight on your hands. If you are on vacation with a child between the ages of 0 and 2, there are playpens right in the room but you can also request a crib upon checking in. Call ahead of time to mention you intend on using a crib for your stay and they will write a note in your reservation. They can take a little while to arrive at your room so don’t expect to be able to put your little to sleep immediately upon arrival. Here are some tips to make sure your little gets the nap they need so you can have an enjoyable afternoon and evening together.
Bring their bedtime things.
If they sleep with the same blanket or stuffed animal every night be sure to bring it with you. With our two they always slept with the same quilt overlaying their mattress, so I brought it with us and put it over top of the crib mattress. This provides them with the same smell they have at home. If your child sleeps with a particular light and it’s portable try to bring that as well. Check the toddler essential list to see if there are any other items that may ring some bells that are mandatory for your littles bed time routine.
Maintain your routine.
If your routine is songs, books, bottle, bed, do this exact same routine. Bring all the things you will need to achieve this normalcy. Bring the books you’ll need, the sippy cup you’ll need and so on.
Create a dark environment.
Shut the drapes, turn off the lights in the bathroom and in the room. Make sure to make it as dark as possible to allow them to settle down for their shut eye.
Have nap time at nap time.
When making your dining reservations or your plans for your non-park day keep in mind what time you plan on giving your child their nap. If your child normally naps at 1pm, don’t make a lunch reservation at Kona Cafe for 12:00pm. Save your table service resort dining for breakfast or supper.
Keep the TV Off.
If you expect your child to have a nap in the afternoon then don’t let them watch a lot of TV in the morning. TV time is a quiet time of its own and can work against your plan to nap your child. Instead bring some easy toys from home they can play with in the room during those times you need to be getting ready, or open the blinds in the room so they can people watch.
Have an active morning.
Tire that little one out. Fill your non-park morning with a trip to the pool or to the playground. Walk around your resort. Get as much fresh air as possible. Hopefully this will make your little one tired enough that they will not resist their nap.
Talk to your child.
If your child is old enough talk to them about why it’s important they have a nap. Maybe you’re planning to go watch the fireworks from one of the Magic Kingdom resorts or you’re planning a full afternoon at Disney Springs. Talk to them about what’s planned later and why it’s important they have a rest now.
If none of these tips work and you think your child really needs a nap before doing what is planned for the rest of the day then try a stroller nap.
These are things we’ve done with our kids on our last two trips and we have had successfully achieved nap time. Even if your child doesn’t end up falling asleep a little bit of quiet time is better than nothing. Giving them their naps will hopefully curb any unnecessary meltdowns and will ideally create a fun-filled day for everyone.