How to Cope With Your Kid's Jet Lagby ModernMom Staff
Traveling can be exhausting, stressful and just plain uncomfortable. Top it all off with jet lag and you’ve got quite a miserable situation on your hands. If you’ve ever traveled to a different time zone with your children, you know how miserable they feel when they’re jet lagged. Tired, cranky and whiny kids are no fun to take anywhere. Here are some coping strategies to deal with your kids’ jet lag and make your vacation experience more relaxing.
What is Jet Lag?
We all know jet lag occurs when we travel to a different time zone, but what exactly is making us feel so terrible? Our internal clock has gotten adjusted to a certain cycle of daylight hours, and jet lag occurs when that cycle has been disturbed. When our bodies are adjusting to our new time zone, our internal clocks are resetting, which is why we feel the common symptoms of jet lag, like tiredness, headache, diarrhea or constipation, irritability, and so on.
Keep Them Hydrated
One of the primary reasons people feel so miserable when they’re jet lagged is due to dehydration. Make sure your kids are drinking plenty of water to prevent this from happening.
Get Your Kid Moving
A nice walk around your new destination or a swim in the hotel pool is a great way to fight off jet lag. Doing this kind of light physical activity before nap time or bedtime will tire them out so that they’ll be able to get some rest once and for all later that evening.
Feed Them Healthy Foods
Eating healthy foods and snacks, packed with complex carbs, protein and fiber, will keep them fuller longer and hopefully, keep their behavior in check. Avoid feeding them sugary snacks and drinks, which will give them a quick energy boost but then make them crash hard later.
Preserve the Comforts of Home
Kids get attached to routine and any vacation is taking them out of their comfort zone. For toddlers, bring along their favorite toy or blankie so that they can carry around something that makes them feel at home. Try to preserve some of the same routines you do at home, such as nap time or a bedtime story.
Take It Easy for the First Few Days
Try to relax and keep your schedule light for the first few days of a trip with the family. In other words, don’t go crazy with trying to follow strict itineraries during that time. As any mom knows, that’s difficult enough as it is without your kids being jet lagged. Give all of your bodies time to get over the initial fatigue before you start sightseeing and going on day trips.
Get Adjusted to Your New Time Zone ASAP
One you’ve arrived at your destination, adjust your watches to local time and try to encourage your kids to stay awake during daylight hours and sleep when it’s dark outside. It’s important to get your whole family on local time as soon as possible. The quicker you do this, the sooner the jet lag will go away and the sooner you can start enjoying your vacation.
Understand that your kids’ little bodies may not be able to cope as well with traveling. Be prepared for the jet lag to continue on for several days, and plan accordingly. And know that once all of you are feeling more adjusted to your new time zone, you will have an unforgettable time!