What to do when your baby naps n the car by Gentle Sleep Specialist and Baby Sleep Consultant - Tara Mitchell

Babies + Car Naps

Little ones fall asleep in the car – often!

Sometimes they’re a blessing, sometimes they’re a pain!! Falling asleep, or even just becoming drowsy or lulled, in the car can play a huge role as to why your little one is having difficult settles at sleep times later on during the day. 

 

what are your options for car trips with little ones?

 

Keep them engaged.

If you’re planning to offer your little one their nap at home, then it’s really important to keep them fully engaged during any car trips prior to that nap. Talking to your little one, allowing them to play with a favorite toy or singing to them will hopefully be enough to keep them wide awake. Keeping your little one wide awake and engaged, rather than allowing them to become disengaged and drowsy, is your best bet at achieving an easier settle and good nap once you get home.

 

A common misjudgment that parents make is thinking that their child will be able to stay asleep on the transfer from the car to their cot when they arrive home.

What if they do fall asleep?

If your little one does fall asleep in the car when you hadn’t planned on them doing so, just let them have a nap there – safely, of course. Letting your little one sleep for at least one sleep cycle is ideal - so go for a bit of a drive to allow them this opportunity. A common misjudgment that parents make is thinking that their child will be able to stay asleep on the transfer from the car to their cot when they arrive home. Some will, but most do not! So, if your child does not transfer well from the car to their cot, you will most likely be calling that short car nap as being over and done with by the time you’ve opened their car door - and you’ll be starting your little one’s next awake period much sooner than you had anticipated!! Keep in mind that little ones do not understand how long they’ve been asleep for, just the fact that they’ve been asleep.

 

Where you can, try to plan your day around your little one’s nap times and avoid the risk of them becoming drowsy on car trips – it’ll make life a whole lot easier when you go to put them down at their next sleep period!

 

The Gentle Sleep Specialist xo