Bummed I didn’t get a picture of our hotel setup with Toddler S and the twins. I’ll have to remember to take one the next time we travel. But this was the absolute first time the 5 of us slept in one room together. A few months ago, during Memorial Day weekend we stayed at a friends house and we had the luxury to have Toddler S sleep in a separate room but that was definitely not an option in the hotel room. The good news is Toddler S slept through the babies morning wake up and the babies slept their usual amount – success!
As I may have mentioned before, being outnumbered is a real thing. When we used to travel with Toddler S we would always stick to his routine but I would stress about how will he adjust to co-sleeping in a smaller bed, will the new environment throw him off and how will we make sure he doesn’t fall off the bed when we are not sleeping on either side of him? All this seems so trivial in hindsight but natural concerns as first time parents.
With a toddler and twins, our biggest concern was what would the sleeping situation be? Fortunately, I had a brilliant idea before our trip and it worked out great! We had bought Toddler S a kid sized travel air bed to use in Chicago during my brother’s wedding. He was about 1.5 years old then and wasn’t a huge fan of it and ended up sleeping in the bed with us at the time, so I was not sure if he would sleep in it this time around. I kept my fingers crossed and we planned to have him sleep in the airbed. I called the hotel ahead of time to make sure we had 2 queen beds (vs 1 king). This allowed each of us parents to sleep with one baby each. This way we only had to barricade one side each with pillows to prevent them rolling off the bed. Since both Twin A and Twin S are rolling, crawling and the move it was important to plan a safe sleeping arrangement. Last thing I needed was to be awake all night paranoid that someone was going to fall off the bed. Thankfully, Toddler S did great in his airbed, he actually loved it and was so excited to be sleeping in it. And both babies did well sleeping next to each of this.
You may be wondering why we didn’t use a pack and play or a hotel crib. This is probably another good option if you have the space for it in your room. The babies sleep on floor beds at home so I was not comfortable with trying a crib like option for the first time with Toddler S trying to sleep in the same room. Definitely didn’t want to set us up for failure. Plus we would need 2 in the room and there was no room for that and putting both in 1 may have resulted in a sleep less night. But if your kids already sleep in cribs or pack and plays, this might be a good option for travel.
Here is a quick list of how to prepare for hotel stay with a Toddler & twins (this list of course applies to hotel stay with 1 or more kids too):
Call the hotel ahead of time to find out what the room layout is, if it is a 2 beds or 1 bed and how much extra space is there in the room (for a crib, pack & play, air bed etc). You should also ask if there is a fridge and microwave in the case you need it for any bottles, food etc.
Try out any new sleeping options for any of the kids. To reduce risks I should have had Toddler S try out sleeping on the air bed prior to our trip. Since we don’t use (or own) cribs or pack & plays this would have been something else to try out if we were considering this as a sleeping option for the hotel stay.
Take the key things you need to help stick to your routine (without taking everything in your home). For us this included:
iPad for white noise – we use white noise for all the kids at home, so this was a good familiar sleep association for them and it served the purpose of blocking out any other noise in the room whether it was the kids or us going in/out of the (bath)room.
Floor bed or a separate sleeping space for Toddler S to limit interruptions from the babies middle of the night waking. We used an air mattress for Toddler S
Sleep sacks for all three (although we forgot Toddler S’s)
Light blanket for Toddler S – the hotel blankets are too big for kids, plus I prefer something more familiar to help him sleep comfortably
Baby Monitors (audio or video) – it’s nice to have the option to step out of the room once the kids are asleep, even if it is limited to the hallway right outside your room. It’s easy to forget that once the kids are asleep making noise in the room may wake them up. Being able to hang out in the hall way is a good option to extend the after party for the adults.
Overall, the key to a good night sleep with kids, traveling or not, is staying consistent and as close to your normal routine as possible. And we did exactly that. We had a great time celebrating with all of our family this weekend, staying up late with cousins and most importantly having happy, well rested kids.
Stay tuned for another post on how to pack smart & be prepared when traveling with kids!