As a mom, I think one of the most stressful aspects of overnighting for me is figuring out sleeping arrangements for the kids, especially when they are so young and can’t just sleep on a spare bed or a couch. My kids have never been great sleepers – always needing to be rocked or cuddled to sleep, and not sleeping through the night until they were at least 15 months old. Audrey, at 18 months, is only now just beginning to be able to put herself to sleep. Praise Jesus!
Last week we went to Disneyland for the first time as a family. In order to take advantage of the full day and to avoid crazy LA traffic, we got a room at the Sheraton just down the street from the Park the afternoon before. There, from the ninth floor we were able to see the fireworks, and with Disneyland only a 15 minute walk away, it was a nice little spot to call home-base. On our road-trip last Summer we often opted for a king-size bed and co-slept with Audrey; she was up several times through the night and needed me to cuddle her to sleep anyways. Dominic slept in the pack-n-play. Now with Dominic too big for the pack-n-play and Audrey being so wiggly and sleeping so much better on her own we opted for 2 Queens. I wasn’t sure how we’d juggle the sleeping arrangements but decided to wing it once we arrived to our room. A big step for me as I am trying to simplify going out/overnighting so our family can have more freedom in doing some spontaneous trips.
At first I thought Brendon and I would both just take a kid each and stack pillows on their side to keep them from rolling off the high beds, but I knew we both would have horrible sleep given our kids acrobatics through the night. I also knew I wouldn’t sleep soundly because I would be worrying about them rolling off in spite of their pillows. However once we got settled my creativity fired up. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? We had tried this method once during our PEI-LA road-trip but this time I really think we improved on it and it worked so well for us this time that I wanted to the steps to recreate it here:
- Pick the bed that is closest to the wall and lift and slide the mattress over until it hits the wall (lift because otherwise the bedskirt will become all wonky).
- Put something underneath the now unsupported section of the mattress that hangs over the side to give it support and stability. Our cooler was the perfect height so we placed that in the center and as the kids are small it did the trick for us.
- Use extra pillows to surround any hard spaces the kids might roll into and roll up a few and stuff them under the mattress at the foot of the mattress to make a DIY bed rail. Put a some high back non-rolling chairs (if available) with the backs to the mattress to give it extra support (just in case the kid rolls over the pillow barrier).
- Have the kids take a side each and sleep horizontally on mattress with their heads by the wall. We packed the kids pillows, blanket, and a stuffy each to help with bedtime routine and create enough familiarity to help them sleep.
- Viola! There you have it. A safe space for the kids to share and sleep on, complete with a step they can climb up to bed, thanks to the empty space on the boxspring where the mattress used to be. I placed a extra blanket on Audrey’s side just in case but she tends to roll sideways and gravitate towards the other warm body in bed with her, in this case, her brother, so I didn’t worry too much. I just on the other bed closest to them so if anything happened, at least I would be the first to the scene.
Our kids really loved their little space and although I still wasn’t able to sleep soundly, I did sleep a little better knowing they were safe and happy, and I did enjoy not being kicked in the spleen or having my hair pulled in the middle of the night.
I hope this little DIY method can be useful to you on your trips and let you ditch the extra pack n play! I know we’ll be doing this again next time we’re overnighting at a hotel.
PS. When we visit my parents and spend the night we just put their full-size futon mattress on the floor by the wall and our kids don’t mind sharing that space and sleep really well!