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.
- If you are leaving on a night flight, let them sleep as per normal schedule and grab as much rest as you can too. This will help you get through the rest of the day. Don’t expect your tots to sleep their normal length of time. It may not seem like it at the time, but this will work in your favour in your battle against jet lag. ( See my best seats guide to help maximise some sleep). For sleep tips for a baby on a plane see here, and for sleep tips for a toddler on a plane see here.
- 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.
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 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.
- If you are planning on going out and about or travelling soon, you may find these other travel gear recommendations for kids useful too.
- These great travel toys and activities for toddlers are handy – for days out, to trips on planes, trains or even cruising or camping
- There are also sleep tips for babies or toddlers on the plane too.