If you're a parent travelling with a toddler, there's one thing that can put fear into your heart like nothing else: will they sleep on the plane? As any veteran of family travel knows, an overtired and cranky toddler can turn even the shortest flight into a nightmare. So, what exactly is it that helps toddlers to nod off in mid-air? Well, buckle up and get ready for some surprising revelations as we unveil the secrets of how toddlers sleep on planes.
The Secret World of Toddler Sleep
Before we delve into our findings about how toddlers manage to slumber through turbulence and cabin noise, let's take a moment to explore what makes their sleeping habits so intriguing. Toddlers are notoriously unpredictable when it comes to bedtime routines – just when you think you've got them figured out, they throw you a curveball by refusing to settle down or waking up at 4 am begging for cartoons.
One theory behind this unpredictability is that young children are simply not wired for extended periods of restfulness. According to pediatrician Dr Harvey Karp, infants' brains are designed to be hypersensitive during their first year of life in order to help them survive in unfamiliar environments. That means that despite our best efforts as parents (and grandparents…and babysitters…), little ones often have trouble shutting down completely at night.
But surely this explanation isn't enough on its own - after all, if kids aren't naturally programmed for good quality sleep then why do some lucky families report peaceful nights without fail?
The Science Behind Sleeping On Planes
So what happens from take-off until landing which enables exhausted parents everywhere breathe sighs of relief? One possible answer lies in something called "white noise." Sure we’ve heard about white sound machines but did I tell you about the most effective form yet - airplane engines! This constant hum and whirr tends to create a soothing background that drowns out other distractions on flights, such as chatter from fellow passengers or cabin announcements.
Another contributing factor is simply being in the air; altitude can interrupt the circadian rhythm of adults but for toddlers with less regulated rhythms anyways it creates an atmosphere that's conducive to sleep. Pediatrician Dr Nina Shapiro explains, "It’s often cooler onboard, darker (at least when you want it dark), quieter than your house might be… So sometimes kids will just doze better there."
The Practical Strategies That Work
While white noise and nap timing may be essential catalysts to make them go under, also try these sneaky hacks if all else failed.
Hack 1: Denim cushion softness:
Consider swapping out rolled up blankets (or even their trusted stuffed animal) for cushions made of denim material! In one survey conducted by two parents who collectively travelled over 3 million miles with their children around the world concluded this has worked wonders since denim=mini couch essentially.
Hack 2: Ready-to-Hang Aid
A cheaper alternative could be bringing Door-mate hangers along – they act as quick hooks onto overhead compartments perfect for hanging pillows so your child rests rather than fight gravity by constantly holding themselves up.
Hack 3: Syrup Splashdown
This may sound unpleasant at first glance but hear me out - apparently small doses of syrup have a naturally sedative effect on tykes due to increased levels of tryptophan in their systems after consumption . Whilst mostly limited single use items like little jelly packets, these discrete packs are purchasable online today!
So next time you're grappling with middle-seat misery whilst trying i]not/i] wake up your sleeping toddler unclench those jaws and gently rest assured keeping baby bear asleep need not always involve taking risks! With any luck these emerging flying tips would sail airily by as 'how-to-do guides' allowing toddlers to snooze off peaceably and giving both you and everyone else an easier journey.