Jet lag kids

Jet Lag Kids – Top 10 Tips on How to Get Over Jet Lag Fast/er

I remember our return from the US last year and wow did I have Jet Lag Kids. All four kids were on different schedules which of course took a huge toll on me. The kitchen was working overtime as each one awoke in search of food. The jet lag crazies the first night drove me (at 03:00)  to research how to get over jet lag fast or at least faster. Here are the bits of wisdom I have learned and put into practice. Here’s to longer nights!

Jet Lag Kids – Top 10 Tips on How to Get Over Jet Lag Fast/er

Here are some tips for getting over and surviving jet lag! Don’t suffer with Jet Lag Kids

  1. Impact of jet lag differs depending on the direction of travel.  Flying West to East (Tokyo to NYC or Paris to Tokyo) is much harder on the body than East to West (NYC to Tokyo or Tokyo to Paris). Expect 2-3 days jet lag on East to West routes, while West to East can be 6-9 days.
  2. Try to schedule flights that leave later in the afternoon or night to allow kids to sleep in the plane. Once you arrive, try to keep the kids awake as long as possible and out and about in sunlight.
  3. Try to adjust to time zones before you leave by pushing back bedtime by 30 mins each night 3-4 nights before you leave. This action can reduce a few days jet lag in your child.
  4. Pretend you have arrived at your destination by resting your watch as soon as you board the plane. For example; I boarded in Washington DC headed to Tokyo at 11:00, and set my watch to 24:00. In the plane, I told the kids it is midnight so we must sleep. Just telling them about the time helped a bit to get them to rest.
  5. If you are arriving late at night, try to stay at a hotel close to the airport and get the kids to try to sleep as soon as possible. I always try to feed the kids before showering and getting into bed. Make sure all the blinds are pulled and that you have some beverages and food out in case little stomach rumble. It is always easier to fall back to sleep after eating.  Remember to pull the blinds and shut down all electronics.
  6. If your kids wake up in the middle of the night, try to get them back to sleep after a quick snack. I advise not to turn on the TV or other electronics. Just getting a few extra hours will have a big impact on adjusting more quickly.
  7. Have quiet time activities and toys set aside for kids to play with while you try to rest. If you can’t get you child to go back to sleep set up an activity area in a corner where children can sit and color or do Play-dough while other children continue to sleep. Do not allow TV or electronics which will keep the child up longer and disturb others.
  8. Set the alarm clock for a normal morning wake-up time and rally the family to get out for breakfast and play. It is thought he first few days but the sooner people rise, the better. Try to limit the afternoon nap to two hours max for kids over five years or so. Naps are dangerous with jet lags since they can become 5-8 hours “naps” which will prolong jet lag.
  9. Plan half day activities the first few days. I find mornings are when the kids have the most energy so we ski, swim or hike in the a.m. then eat and then have short naps.
  10. Staying fluid while flying and after arrival. Make sure the entire family is drinking a lot of water. Staying hydrated helps the body get over jet lag quicker.

Jet Lag Kids – Top 10 Tips on How to Get Over Jet Lag Fast/er


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