tips for beating jet lag

It’s been five years of traveling with kids to different parts of the country and world, and jet lag still scares me a little. After you’ve battled a 12-hour time difference (San Francisco to India), you feel like you can handle anything but sometimes even a couple of hours’ delta can throw you off. Here are my tips for how to beat jet lag before it beats you:

Make the Change Gradual

If you are able, start adjusting your children’s schedules a few days before you leave, putting them to bed 15-20 minutes earlier or later to bridge the gap with your destination time zone.

Use Power Naps

If you need to keep your kids up later at night, let them have a 30-minute snooze in the late afternoon. Then wake them up (this is the hard part) and try frantically to distract them with their favorite things (toys, ice creams, unicorns, nothing is off limits).

Sleep When They Sleep

Just like in their newborn days because your chances of keeping sane are much higher if you mirror their sleep patterns and rest when they are resting.

tips for beating jet lag

Photo credit: Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan / International TravelingMom

When in Spain

Kids in Spain eat dinner at 9pm with their parents. Children are sensitive to the energy around them so if you try to put them to bed when they can sense life in their midst, you won’t have much luck. Similarly, in some countries in the summer the sun sets at 10pm.  Try to adapt to local norms and natural rhythms instead of forcing your pre-fixed ones on your child.

Be Flexible

So the routine you spent six months developing goes out the window. So what? A few days or weeks without a schedule doesn’t mean that you are forever condemned to a life of chaos and indiscipline. Go with the flow, and you will find that you and your child are happier for it.

For more tips on how to beat jet lag, check out:

How to Help Kids Get Over Jet Lag

Jet Lag in Milan

Exercise to Reduce Jet Lag

What’s your secret to beating jet leg? Tell us in the comment section below.