Traveling with Kids: How to Manage Jet Lag

Traveling With Kids: How To Manage Jet Lag

There are many things that prevent families from traveling internationally. First of all, it’s expensive to fly your family around the world. Especially, because nowadays they charge for children as young as one year old! Domestic flights allow kids to travel for free up to two years old. This is why parents dread their child’s second birthday because it means you officially have to pay for them to get a seat! Another thing parents fear when traveling is… jet lag. Jet lag is tough, regardless of how big your time change is. Think about Day Lights Savings. A simple one hour time change sends parents into crazy Twitter rants because their kids start waking up way earlier than they should or stay up way later than they ever had. Today I want to share with you ten tips to tackle jet lag.

If one hour is hard, how can your child handle going on an international trip and possibly be 12 hours off? Don’t worry, it’s not impossible! Here are a few simple tips you should keep in mind when traveling internationally.

Ten Tips to Tackle Jet Lag When Traveling with Kids

Set up a schedule. 

Determine a schedule that fits for your family while on vacation. The biggest thing you need to think about is sleep. Find out what times you should wake up, take a nap, and go to sleep. This will help you to keep your kids on a routine and know how long you need to keep them busy. Try not to stray from it as best you can. It will help their bodies adjust when dealing with jet lag.


Have your child eat before bed so they don’t wake up hungry.

One big reason kids wake up in the middle of the night is because their little bellies start grumbling. They wake up hungry and the idea of going back to sleep isn’t appealing to them. If you give them a good carb-filled meal before bed, they will have a better chance at staying asleep through the night. A few carb meals would be pasta, apples, milk, oatmeal, and peanut butter.


Keep your kids busy to keep them awake until bedtime

Be sure to keep your family busy all day. It’s usually an easier task while on vacation because there are so many things on your to-do list before you have to go home. By keeping them busy all day, you’re not allowing a lot of down time. Down time is where things get tricky because your kids will start to get sleepy and chances are they’re going to fall asleep when they shouldn’t.


Try to keep your routine from home while away (bed times, reading before bed, baths in the morning).

Routines are comforting. While traveling, your children are experiencing a large amount of change and they don’t always respond well to it. You can help prevent some emotional outbursts by keeping some of your daily routines. This helps your children to relax because they know what to expect throughout the day.


Keep their rooms as dark as you can while they’re sleeping.

When traveling internationally, your child loses track of time. Their biggest indicator of what time it is will be how light or dark it is. You can help their bodies adjust and sleep at the right times by setting them up in a dark room. You can use a blanket on the window, find a room that doesn’t get a lot of morning sun, or get heavy curtains.


Limit their naps.

Make sure you keep your children to a short nap schedule. If you let their naps drag out, they won’t be tired at night or they won’t sleep as long the next morning. Think about how long they nap at home and keep them to it. If they start to sleep longer than that, go into their room and gently wake them up. Slowly transition them to another calm activity to help prevent emotional outbursts.


Get the kids outside if they get sleepy when they should be awake.

One of the easiest ways to keep kids awake if they’re getting sleepy is to take them outside. The fresh air will give them their little boost of energy that they need to bounce around and play all day. It’s also a great thing to do as a family! You can go outside and explore or play a game.


Keep your bodies moving through out the day. 

Down time can be dangerous when dealing with jet lag. It can encourage you to sleep at the wrong time of day and cause you more problems when you try to go to sleep at night. Keep moving through out the day and it will also help you to wear out your body. It’s easier to fall asleep at night if you’re physically tired.


Go to sleep early the first few nights.

Give yourself a break the first few nights and go to sleep early. Jet lag can tell your body that you want to go to sleep in the middle of the day or night, but you need to keep yourself up until it’s ok to sleep. It’s ok to go to sleep at 8 the first few nights while your body starts to acclimate.


If you have young ones, give them warm milk in the middle of the night if they wake up. 

Even if you feed your kids a filling meal before bed, they still may wake up in the middle of the night. It’s not a good idea to give them food if they do because it can give them more energy to wake up and want to start playing. The best idea is to warm up a glass of milk and help them fall back asleep.

Jet lag can be difficult to tackle when traveling with kids, but families have been traveling for hundreds of years.

I hope you enjoyed reading about ten tips to tackle jet lag.

What are your favorite tips for managing jet lag?

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Brittany is the voice behind The Almost Indian Wife blog. She is raising three biracial boys with her husband and navigating two cultures in her multicultural family.

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