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7 jet lag tips for travelling with kids

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels.

Published Mar 23, 2022


7 jet lag tips to help parents and kids:

Consider your flight times

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Freelance blogger Marianne is a mother of two energetic kids. On her Mum on the Move blog she shared that the best hack for beating jet lag is to try to get your body clock on to your destination time zone as quickly as possible – even before you get there.

“Think about the local time zone as soon as you board the plane, and adapt your sleep on the plane accordingly. For example, if your plane lands at 7am local time, you will need to ensure you have been sleeping right up to the time you land, which often means staying awake for the first few hours of the flight,” she said.

Eat fresh, protein-rich foods

Preethi of the Local Passport Family recommends protein-rich foods for kids. “Protein is great for helping little ones’ bodies stay full and ready to sleep.

Just like adjusting meal times, having protein-rich snacks on hand is an easy way to help with toddler jet lag.

When our kids woke up before dawn in Santorini, Greece, we had purchased a big container of delicious thick Greek yoghurt, perfect for quickly filling tummies and helping them settle back down.

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Protein during the day is great for avoiding crashes that come with tons of carbs,” she said.

Factor in jet lag into your itinerary

Jet lag is a reality of travel whether you like it or not, but for small kids, it can be a jarring concept to grasp. Nicola, the writer behind Jet lag and Mayhem, suggests taking it easy on the first day or two and not jumping directly into fast-paced activities.

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“If you’re doing a big road trip after a long-haul flight, know that you might have a tricky first few nights. Don’t necessarily rush to hire that car. Think about staying in an airport hotel for one night or at least basing yourself in the same location for the first few days.”

Get out and about on that first day

Sally of Our 3 Kids v the World blog shared that some minor lifestyle adjustments on that first day or so can make a huge difference. For instance, drinking a lot of water and getting out in the sunlight can be the difference between crabby kids and a wonderful first day in a new city. “You’re less likely to feel tired if you are out and about in the sunshine and keep moving. I feel the jet lag worse when I stop and am inside, not moving around. If you stay busy and try to hit the ground running, you will adjust to the new time zone much quicker,” she said.

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Sleep when the kids sleep

Parents are always at their best when they too are looking after themselves and getting enough rest. That’s why The Fun-Employed Family shared the advice to sleep when the kids are sleeping.

“The advice you get repeatedly when having a baby applies to travelling with jet-lagged kids, too. Try to keep your kids up as late as possible those first nights.

“When they go to bed, you should try to go to sleep as well. I say this mostly because there’s a high probability that they’ll be up for the day at 3am, and by default, so will you.

“That goes for naps, too. Don’t be afraid to take a little snooze when your kids do. You’ll all wake up with a bit more energy to squeeze some more fun out of the day.”

Accommodate your child’s needs

At the end of the day, you have to do what is best for your kids. Even if you have an entire day of activities planned, if your child is overly tired and grouchy, they would be happier after a little rest.

Moving around plans is irksome, but it will be for the greater good of the family and your holiday. Big Brave Nomad said: “Be willing to change your plans to accommodate an overly tired child. We’ve cancelled entire excursions to be sure our kids were feeling their best. It can be hard, but the rest of the trip will suffer if they are constantly tired.

“We found the best park in Prague by changing our plans to accommodate our jet-lagged baby. Turns out, it was beneficial to all of us and the days and nights were much easier after that.”

Take it easy when you return home

From unpacking bags to stretching legs after hours being cooped up in a car and plane, the entire family will probably just want to relax when you get home and that is perfectly okay, according to Sharon of the Where’s Sharon? blog.

“Of course, you are also likely to hit jet lag problems when returning home – although I find any type of problem is so much easier to deal with once you are in your own home. I suggest following all the same tips as above and try not to rush straight back to work/school/etc if you can.

“You all need some time to recover after a long trip and to help ensure you get over any kids’ jet lag as fast as possible and without the stress of a strict routine.”