By Naomi Hilliard, sleep consultant and founder of

Travelling with kids or as a family is very different from travelling without kids

So you’ve booked your summer holiday and are counting down the days until you get some much needed vitamin D. Travelling as a family is very different from travelling without kids and it can be stressful and sometimes all feel a little overwhelming, Naomi from Catching Little Dreams Sleep Consultancy is here to give her top tips for travelling with your baby or little children and adjusting them to a new time zone.

Naptime in transit

On your travel days do your best with naps but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Naps on the go aren’t as restorative as naps in a cot, however, any sleep is a bonus and if naps are short just try to fit in more of them. Take options for naps, baby carriers, a pram, your car seat, they may even sleep in the car for some of the journey (just remember babies need frequent breaks from their car seat to stretch and move around).. Try to use your little one’s wake window to get them back to sleep before they get overtired. This will help them to drift off more easily as an overtired baby can fight sleep.

Flying with kids

If you are taking a flight, make sure you take lots of entertainment with you for their day time entertainment and take some familiar bedtime items too. Such as a favourite blanket, bedtime story and cuddly toy. This will help signal to your child that bedtime is on its way even though you are on a plane.

When booking a flight, if possible try to time the flight with a nap or bedtime. If you have booked a night flight, change your little one into their pyjamas or nighttime sleep suit before the flight and see if you can book an airline bassinet at the time of booking your flights. These are typically installed in the bulkhead of the plane and so there are limited numbers available (check your baby’s weight for whether these are appropriate).

Adjusting children to new time zones and getting them to sleep in the new time zone

Once you arrive try to get your baby or toddler onto the new time zone straight away. There are some amazing European destinations that mean you don’t need to adjust time zones whilst others require just an hour or so. Equally if you are only going on a short trip it may not be worth adjusting their time zone at all.

If you are dealing with a bigger shift in time zones then starting to shift time zones ahead of time, out them to bed an hour earlier or later the night before travelling depending on your direction of travel. This could massively help you when you get to your destination. Again, once you arrive, shift to local time straight away. If bedtime is usually 7pm try and get your little one into bed by 7pm local time.

To help with their circadian rhythm try and expose them to being outside in the light. This doesn’t need to be direct sunlight but having time outside during the day will help them adjust.

When you arrive try to make your little ones’ sleep space as conducive to sleep as you can. You could pack a travel black out blind for the window in case the room is too light. A mobile white noise machine is also very helpful to stop them from getting disturbed unnecessarily. Keep an eye on the room temperature too and where possible keep it nice and cool. Young babies, in particular, can overheat easily.

It is important that you also get to relax on holiday and so do your best with your little ones’ sleep but don’t worry or stress about it. Being aware of the sleep they are getting and giving them a good sleep environment will massively help.

About the expert

Naomi Hilliard, the founder of Catching Little Dreams, is a dedicated child sleep consultant with a deeply personal journey into the world of sleep training. Ten years ago, she was a severely sleep-deprived parent, puzzled by why other babies slept soundly while her own did not. The concept of sleep training was relatively unknown in the UK at that time, but a chance encounter with a local sleep consultant transformed her life. Within just two weeks, her daughter went from waking multiple times each night to sleeping through and enjoying restful naps during the day.

Inspired by this life-changing experience, Naomi harboured a desire to help other families achieve the same peace and restfulness. The Covid-19 pandemic presented the perfect opportunity for a career change, and Naomi retrained as a child sleep consultant. Since then, she has never looked back. Naomi considers it one of the best decisions she has ever made and truly believes she has the best job in the world. Through Catching Little Dreams, she is passionate about bringing restful nights and happy days to families everywhere.

Find out more at