5 Steps to Battling Jet Lag in Kids
- June 21, 2016
- by Melissa Lawrence
Hello everybody. So week two for our family here in Spain, and we’re finally getting into a rhythm. Last week came with its inevitable ups and downs, most of the downs being related to jet lag. My kids were jet lagged and I was also. Having made the trip from the U.S. to Europe with five children on my own now several times, here are my tried and true tips for battling jet lag.
Have you traveled abroad and experienced jet lag? How long does jet lag last for your family? Comment below!
How to Beat Jet Lag
- As much sleep as possible on the plane. Usually plane trips to Europe take place at night offering you at least a few hours for some sleep. Sleeping on planes is not easy because the seats are small and the lights stay on late and go on early! That being said, I try to feed my kids dinner before we are on the plane, limit them to one movie, and put on sleep masks. Getting them comfortable is no easy task and you have to try different things. Put your kid in the window seat if you have one and settle them on a pillow against the wall of the plane. If you’re kids are willing, have one child settle on the other to get into a more comfortable position for sleep.
- Start your day! If arriving in Europe, start getting on a regular schedule right away. A cat nap in a transfer bus or car is fine, but I would avoid putting my kids down to sleep for a long siesta on arriving. Why? It will be impossible for them to wake up, and you won’t be able to get them to bed on time that night. So rather than just dealing with the symptoms of jet lag for one day or two, you can be throwing the whole family of schedule for many days. I’ve seen kids get off schedule due to jet lag for as long as two weeks. This is really something you want to avoid! The best cure for jet lag is a normal schedule in the new time zone from the get go.
- Normal bedtime. From Day One, put your kids down at a normal time, aiming for the early side. If you’re kids normally go to bed at 8, aim for 7. You get the idea. DO NOT let them fall asleep at 5pm, because if you do this, they’ll be up on Day Two at 5 a.m. You’ll be exhausted, and then they’ll want to go down for the night at 5 p.m. You get the picture.
- Stick to a Regular Schedule. Day Two, wake your kids up when they need to get up, and put them to bed when they need to go to bed. They will be tired, so waking them up might be challenging, but do it. Get them dressed and get out of the house. The best way to battle jet lag is to keep your kids out and about. Watching a movie at home will put them to sleep and get them off schedule.
- Be easy on yourself. You just took a huge trip, and everything is new. Even the water! You’re dealing with tired kids, a new and strange environment, different food, and many other curve-balls. Breathe deeply and stay calm. And if you do lose your patience, just forgive yourself. I remember my mother taking me and my siblings to Sweden, and crying upon arrival. If you’re late for something, so be it. Just do your best to get into a routine, and with each passing day, you will be more accustomed to the new place and the new time zone.
So those are my tips for battling jet lag symptoms in kids. Watch my video for more information and for a real heart-to-heart of some low moments I experienced as a mom. Enter our giveaway below to win 4 awesome sleep masks that will help your family travel plus a $50 Amazon gift card. And thank you so much for reading CloudMom!
Happy beginning of summer.