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Tips To Minimise Jet Lag For Babies, Toddlers, Kids and Grown-Up’s

Tips To Minimise Jet Lag For Babies, Toddlers, Kids and Grown-Up’s

My old job had me flying through several times zones in a month. It was certainly easier managing just my jet lag, but after flying with a baby and toddler to several long haul destinations, including The Big One; UK to Australia.

Here are some general jet lag tips that have helped us manage jet lag symptoms, followed by specific tips for jet lag in babies, toddler and older kids. 

General jet lag cures for all ages.

 

  • Keep hydrated before and during the flight.

 

  • On arrival (or if on an ultra long haul flight),  begin to establish a new routine. Eat and sleep at the right times in the new time zone.

 

  • Go outside. Light exercise and the natural light will help re set your body clock.

 

  • Try and avoid long naps and wake little ones up if they nap too long. I wake my baby up after 2.5 hours at lunchtime and my toddler after an hour during the first few days of arrival. If you can and need to, nap when they do as you will need the energy!

 

  • Take turns with the night shift. When the little ones wake up during the night, try a 4 hour ‘duty’ time with your partner. This will help you get through the day. It helps if you can sleep in a separate room to the kids, so that connecting room or 2 roomed suite can be a god-send at your destination.

 

  • Avoid caffeine after 2pm.

 

  • Speak to your doctor about using melatonin tablets. Our bodies naturally make melatonin, which helps create the urge to fall asleep. Melatonin tablets can help induce sleep, but it will not maintain sleep.
Here are some extra jet lag tips specifically for babies and toddlers:
 

Jet Lag In Babies

Long flights, mean more time zones to cross, and one of the biggest is flying from the UK to Australia or New Zealand. In general, baby jet lag UK to Australia is more manageable with a stopover, but if you go all the way through (like we have occasionally), it can mean a few sleepless nights. Expect several nights of disruption but rejoice that jet lag in babies doesn’t seem to last as long. Babies often have to re-adjust  their sleep through growth spurts, teething, not feeling very well etc, and jet lag will be temporary like these times.

  • If you are breast-feeding, your supply may also need time to re-adjust to the new time-zone, so keep hydrated and consider napping when baby does.

 

  • Try and keep any night time play fairly calm and quiet, with only minimal lighting.

 

  • During day light hours, try and encourage baby to eat solid food if they are weaning and gain most of their nutrients and calories then, rather than at night.

jet lag children on a plane. jet lag tips

Jet Lag Tips for Toddlers

  • At this age they are pretty much guaranteed to wake up at 2am for the first night or two. Again, try to encourage quiet games such as puzzles, colouring in, stickers etc.

 

  • Keep the calm lighting if they are up in the middle of the night.

 

  • Give a little snack if needed during the night, such as warm porridge and some milk. High magnesium foods such as bananas can help you feel sleepy.

 

  • Settle in for a few stories.

 

  • If you have other children sleeping or your partner is still sleeping, a little stroll around the hotel lobby can help avoid disturbing everyone else.
Please do comment below if you have any other jet lag tips to add.

 

Don’t forget:

 
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 Tips To Minimise Jet Lag For Babies, Toddlers, Kids and Grown-Up's My old job had me flying through several times zones in a month. It was certainly easier managing just my jet lag, but after flying with a baby and toddler to several long haul destinations, including The Big One; UK to Australia. Here are some general jet lag tips that have helped us manage jet lag symptoms, followed by specific tips for jet lag with babies, toddler and older kids. jet lag tips #flyingwithababy #familytravel #traveltips

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Danielle

Sunday 23rd of February 2020

Hi,

I have a choice between two flights for London - Brisbane. One leaves London at 9.10pm and arrives in Brisbane at 6.25am with a 3hr 25min layover the other leaves London at 3pm and arrives in Brisbane at 10.20pm with a 1hr 25min layover.

What would be best for my babies Jet lag. He will be about 11months at the time.

Carrie Bradley

Thursday 27th of February 2020

I would probably go for the quickest flight as babies seems to adjust better than we do. :-)

Mark

Saturday 26th of October 2019

Hi Carrie, we have just got back to the UK from a holiday in Mexico and our toddler (just about 2) has woken on first night back at midnight and is wide awake. We don’t know what to do - he’s obviously in another pattern totally - and it seems Impossible to keep him In his cot and darkened Room to go back to sleep. But now he is up he wants attention, naughty things like TV etc and if we indulge (we see no option as understandably he thinks it is awake time) how do we break the cycle that looks like it will form and get him back to normal sleeping (he traditionally has been a great sleeper). Help! Your site seems to address flights, but we need help with the aftermath!

Mark

Sunday 27th of October 2019

So now on night two - did everything “right”. Made toddler wake up decent time, limited midday nap despite protestations, bed time with usual strict routine. Boom. Awake again three hours later same as night before. Zero improvement. Hopefully you will come back and reply with advice!

Prosail whitsundays

Monday 8th of July 2019

thanks for the information

Jo R

Wednesday 17th of July 2019

Your site is so great, I'm so pleased I stumbled across it!! I am flying Sydney to UK in 2 weeks time with my 11 month old who will turn 1 a few days after arriving. Due to a recent massive sleep regression we are currently following a sleep program that has him sleeping for 20mins for his morning nap at 2 hours at his lunch sleep. You mentioned about jet lag and that you wouldn't let them sleep for longer than an hour when reaching your destination for daytime naps. Would you feel that he should do say 1 hour for morning and 2 hours for lunch instead for the first couple of days? Would value your thoughts on this! Thanks so much

Shona Dunderdale

Monday 4th of March 2019

Hi Carrie! This website is a godsend! It's so good to just be able to get some ideas and helpful tips all in one place. I'm looking for some advice, we are flying canada to uk in a month with our then 11 month old baby boy to see his grandparents. He normally goes to bed around 7pm and wakes 7 am. Our flight leaves at 10.30pm canadian time and the uk is 5 hours ahead (3.30am.) The flight is 7 hours long so we arrive at 5.30am canadian time (10.30am uk) I can't put my baby to bed before the flight as we'll have to be at the airport 2 hours in advance which would result in him only getting maybe an hours sleep before being woken up. What would you do? Just try and keep him up till take off, add in a nap? Or try to move his schedule forward before hand so hes not over stretched? As hes only going to get 7 hours max sleep on the plane I'm worried hes going to seriously crash at the other end and we still have some tube travel to go after...any advice would be appreciated! Thanks Shona

CarrieB

Tuesday 5th of March 2019

Thank you- so glad it has helped! We had exactly the same issue with our youngest when we flew to Australia. She was also 11 month old and it was a 10pm departure. I opted for putting her down for an hour and then picking her up last to put int he car on the way to the airport. it really helped her managing security and boarding without being so grumpy. I had some extra warm milk with me to settle int he car so she dozed for a bit longer. Hopefully this will work for you to? Let me know!

DianaS

Tuesday 13th of March 2018

Hi Carrie! My husband and I are taking our first family trip overseas. From Los Angeles to Romania. We are taking our three munchkins with us, 7 year old 4 year old and at that time our baby girl will be around 18-19 months. We are flying with Lufthansa leaving at 5:30pm and getting to Romania at 5:30pm. Thinking we can keep them up a lil more and then put them down at usual bedtime schedule 8-9pm. We got a bassinet for our lil one too! The time frame; Romania is 10 hours ahead of a California. I was thinking that if we leave at 5:30pm from Los Angeles and put them to sleep around 8-9pm that’s their usual time for sleeping. I hope they’ll sleep during the flight. I was told Lufthansa has a night lights off schedule! I’m happy for that! What advice would you give me? I’m superrrr stressed about it. My lil one is so sensitive when it comes to not sleeping in her bed. I am bringing her baby pillow and blankets with me as well. And a lot of bottles and snacks etc. I’m really doing a lot of homework.. I want my kids to feel comfortable on the plane. I am also getting my kiddos the leg pillow hahha. Yeah.. any advice would be great

CarrieB

Thursday 22nd of March 2018

It sounds like you have a great plan! Great idea about taking her familiar pillow and blanket.