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Kids and jet lag

Kids and jet lag

When you go away with the kids you open up their world that little bit more. It's fantastic to read about far away places in books and to watch documentaries about little hideaways around the globe- but actually getting out there and experiencing it is another thing altogether. We're huge advocates of travelling  with kids and see no reason why you can't see the world with little ones in tow. But what happens a when you travel so far that you enter vastly different time zones? What are kids like when they have jet lag? Hopefully this post will help....


What is jet lag? 

Jet lag refers to a period of confusion and tiredness we experience after travelling. Often changes in time zone can mean that we lose and gain hours that disturb our sleeping patterns. As adults, we can usually overcome jet lag within a few days, by re-setting our body clocks to adjust to the new time. But kids? They're a different story! Of course.
We all have a natural circadian rhythm, and this is basically our body clock. When we cross time zones that rhythm is disturbed and this can affect:
  • appetite
  • digestion
  • bowel habits
  • urine production
  • body temperature
  • blood pressure
Your body is used to breakfast at the same time and sleep at the same time too. And for kids more so- a good routine is essential for good day time and night time sleep.
Kids and jet lag
If your kids are suffering with jet lag  there are a few things that you can do to help ease them into a new rhythm.
Set a new rhythm
When you arrive at your destination try to establish a new routine – aim to eat and sleep at the correct times for your new time zone, not at the time you usually eat and sleep at home. Do this by:
  • avoiding letting your child sleep as soon as you arrive – even if they're tired after a long flight, staying active until the correct time to sleep will help the body adjust quicker.
  • Getting outdoors – natural light will help the body adjust to a new routine.

Lots of children will sleep during long journeys, so often their jet lag will not be as profound as yours! However, it does make sense to be prepared for what may or may not be in store. Here are some tips to help you:

If you fly west to east, your body will have a harder time coping with the time difference. Shorter days are more difficult to adjust to. So bear in mind where you're travelling too so that you can prepare accordingly.

Choose your flight carefully. If you get an overnight flight chances are the kids will sleep through the whole thing and jet lag may not be a huge issue. If you arrive in the morning at your new time zone it's easier to adjust to the day if you've got some sleep handed your belt, so make sure you try to sleep too.

Make sure your accommodation is well planned and ready for your arrival. Don't forget your snoozeshade for travel cot so that you can create a cosy sleeping space.

Plan for jet lag. If you know the kids are going to be groggy and irritable  for the first few days make sure your schedule is light at first.

Change the time on your watch as soon as you arrive so that you can adjust more quickly- but leave at least one device (your phone for example) on home time so that you can have an idea of when the kids would normally be napping. This will help to identify potential issues with tired behaviour, and allow you to plan accordingly.

Be strict with routine. And by that we mean after an initial settling in day, try to limit naps so that the kids aren't sleeping any more than they usually would at home. This will help them to adopt that new rhythm more easily.

Keep food and snacks healthy and regular throughout your travels and during your holiday.

Try a later bedtime for older kids. When you're on holiday chances are you will be out later anyway, but for babies you'll want then to keep their bedtimes as close to normal as possible. And if you're out, don't forget your SboozeShade so baby can sleep!

What are your experiences of jet lag? Any tips to share?


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