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5 Tips For Getting Your Kids To Nap On An Adventure

Ahhh, the sound of silence.

By: Candice Leavitt + Save to a List

A friend recently asked me how I deal with kids who are still napping while out on an adventure. After 4 kids and many failures, we’ve put together these 5 pointers that have worked pretty well for us. Before diving into these tips, I should say to keep in mind that every kid is different, so what may work for one of our kids might not work for the other. Hopefully you’ll learn something that will keep your kids well rested and happy on your next family adventure.

Photo: Nathan Leavitt

1. Go on a drive and explore

If my kids aren’t strapped down they don’t slow down. Going on a drive is a great solution to be able to explore an area while letting your toddler/baby get a little shut eye. We’re often exploring new areas so we’ll plan an active morning with a nice hike, then go on a scenic drive in the afternoon so we can get a lay of the land and take in the scenery. We have found that this works especially well when we are visiting any of the National or State parks and there are lots of areas/lookouts/etc. to explore. This is even great for my older kids as well because it gives them time to relax, snack, regain their energy, and get a little snooze in if needed.

2. Go on a hike with them in the carrier

This is probably the solution we use the most. We are usually out in the boonies and the roads are extremely bumpy, so going on a drive is like being on a jerky roller coaster ride. We’re most often left to explore our surroundings on foot. This option is especially great because it’s like killing two birds with one stone: I don’t miss out on the fun of exploring with the whole family and my toddler/baby still gets his beauty rest. Keep these things in mind when you’ve got your little person on your back:

  • Make sure you have the sun visor that comes with the baby carrier or a hat, plus sunscreen.
  • Have an extra layering piece or small blanket to prop their heads up in a comfortable position. My baby carrier allows me to move my son, Shem, up or down in the carrier, so when it’s close to his nap time I’ll move him down lower for better head support.
  • Most baby carriers have a kickstand… I use this A LOT!! If he’s fallen asleep and I want to relax, I put him and the pack in some shade and either chill next to him or play with the kids close by. This also comes in handy at meal times...it’s like a camping high chair, keeping him still while I feed him.

Photo: Nathan Leavitt

3. Let them nap while you enjoy the surroundings

This is definitely my favorite solution… what mama bear (or papa bear) doesn’t like to snuggle a non-wiggly baby?! I love hiking to a beautiful area, holding Shem in my arms and rocking him back and forth. Once his eyes close, that’s when I get to lay down with him on my tummy and enjoy these rare squiggle-free moments.

4. Fully commit and just take a nap in the tent!

Let Dad go fish, watch any other kids you have, or….do whatever! Let him figure it out while you relax! This can be a challenging technique, especially if your kids take a while to fall asleep and they know they’re missing out on playing with their siblings. If you do try this method, just make sure your tent is in the shade – otherwise it can get pretty hot in there.

5. Remember to be flexible

You don’t have to stick to their nap time schedule. Be flexible and most of all, be patient! We’ve found that when we’re out and about, our kids usually won’t adhere to their typical schedule anyway. If napping at normal times isn’t an option, just keep your day filled with activity and they don’t seem to have time/attention to get cranky. This often makes for tired kiddos at the end of the day!

Every mom and child is different so find what works for you! If you’ve already found some tricks that’ve worked for you, please let us know in the comments below! Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Wild Roots for more from the Leavitt family! #plantwildroots #wildrootsrundeep

Cover photo: Nathan Leavitt

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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