Hi! I'm Courtney Parker, Certified Sleep Sense Consultant, mom of 2 awesome little girls and wife of an airline pilot! I also have a science degree in biology (why must they call it zoology when it's mostly about the human body?) and I looove my sleep! I also love all kinds of food (especially Thai and Italian) and have played softball all my life. I've spent the first 15 years of my career working for commercial airlines, so I guess you could say I'm also a travel junkie. Some of my favourite spots are Nusa Lembongan (Bali), Nice (France), Koh Samui (Thailand) and good old Phoenix, Arizona where my parents spend 6 months of the year. My story began when my first daughter was 6 months old and we were living in Dublin, Ireland. I was on maternity leave and my husband took an overseas deployment to work with a U.K airline for 6 months. Although pretty much everyone thought I was crazy to head off to Ireland with a 9 week old baby (and no family support), we had a wonderful adventure! That is, until sleep deprivation brought us to our rock bottom. We're talking five feedings a night, , placing the sleeping baby in her crib only to wake 2 seconds later, and only napping on the go for maybe 30 minutes at a time. Since my husband needed a good night's sleep to safely operate an airplane, I was often handling this on my own and spiralling into a dark place. We are SO tired, but trying not to look tired (note the monster energy drink in the stroller) I began desperately searching every mommy site and reading every book and article I could get my hands on. Eventually, I found Sleep Sense by Dana Obleman and it literally changed our lives! Within 3 nights, our daughter was sleeping 7pm-7am and after a full 4 weeks she was taking reliable 2 hour naps twice a day. WOW! What to do with all the free time? Just kidding, I had no problem catching up on netflix and binging on snacks! After having another daughter almost 2 years later and seeing the same success with her sleep, I felt the calling to help other families. Looking around, I was seeing so many moms (and dads) that needed help and even some that had accepted that this is what life was supposed to be like! I know families with older children that still won't sleep through the night in their own beds. Did you know that 80% of babies that don't learn healthy sleep habits will still have sleep issues 3 years later? I researched all of the best Certification programs and signed on to train with Dana Obleman, creator of the Sleep Sense Program in Sarasota, Florida. After intensive training and ongoing mentorship, I am a fully Certified Sleep Sense Consultant! There I am! Front row, third from the left in the stripy skirt! Be sure to sign up for more great sleep tips at www.guidingnight.com. Thanks for reading!

Family running on beach at sunset, rear view

I admit it, I was pretty nervous about packing up the kids and trekking around B.C. for our two-week summer vacation last month. Even though I knew what to do to ensure my daughters had consistent naps and overnight sleep, I had a major case of the "what-ifs". And if you know us, we’re no stranger to traveling with kids. Our oldest daughter had 13 stamps in her passport by the time she was 9 months old! So I should have this down pat, right? But, since it had been about a year since we've traveled with the kids, I was worried. We booked 3 short stays in 3 different locations. That also meant 3 different rooms for the girls to get used to and a lot of driving. So, how'd it all turn out? AMAZING!!! I trusted my gut, followed my travel best practices and both girls slept just as well as they do at home! Our summer is saved! Here’s how you can get your kids sleeping on vacation too! When you’re planning a family holiday with a baby, an important thing to consider is how your travel plans are going to affect your child’s sleep routine. You’ll have a much more enjoyable vacation if you organize your trip in a way that allows for as little disruption as possible to your little one is sleep schedule. This will help ensure she gets the rest she needs to be happy, healthy, and alert during your trip, which is bound to make your holiday more enjoyable for everyone! Here are some tips to help ensure sure your baby gets the sleep he needs during your travels:

Tip 1: Don’t over-schedule

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is to try to pack in all the fun and adventure they might have had back in their child-free days. The fact is, when you travel with a baby you can’t plan to go bungee-jumping in the morning, swim with dolphins in the early afternoon, go parasailing in the late afternoon, and go on a dinner cruise in the evening. It is better to slow down the pace and make sure you schedule regular naps and early bedtimes, just like you would at home.

Tip 2: Be consistent with naps and bedtime

An occasional nap in the car seat or a later-than-usual bedtime probably won’t do too much harm, but if your baby’s naps are all over the place and she goes to bed much later than usual several days in a row, your baby will become so overtired and cranky that a complete meltdown will be inevitable.

Tip 3: Be patient as your baby acclimatizes to the new environment

Even if your baby is the best little sleeper in the world at home, when you’re in a strange environment things might be very different. It is normal for babies and toddlers to test boundaries around sleep when they’re somewhere new. Just because you have certain rules at home, they won’t automatically understand that the same rules apply at Grandma’s house In a strange place, your baby might cry for a while at bedtime or wake up at odd times during the night. The best way to handle this kind of behavior is to react the same way you would at home. Go into the room every five minutes or so to offer a bit of reassurance, but other than that, don’t bend your rules. If you hang on tight to your consistency, within the first night or two, your child will be used to the new environment and will be sleeping well again.

Tip 4. Make sure you bring your child’s sleeping toy and/or blanket

If your child has a treasured comfort item, it will go a long way to helping him feel safe and secure enough to fall asleep in a strange environment. Forget it at your peril!

Tip 5. If you’re not a co-sleeping family, don’t start now

Another big mistake parents make is to start sharing a bed with their baby or toddler while traveling. Even if it is only for a few nights, if your baby decides this is her new preferred way to sleep, you could find yourself dealing with a big problem when you get home and put her back in her crib. The good news is, most hotels have a crib you can use or rent. You could also take your portable playpen along and use that as a crib. I L O V E the idea of putting the crib in a large closet or bathroom. It helps creates a dark, quiet sleeping environment for baby and you don't have to worry about tip-toeing around all night. For more sleep tips, visit www.guidingnight.com