Coping with Kids’ Jet Lag


Coping with Kids’ Jet Lag

One of the major problems you will encounter when flying with babies and small children is the time change. Being an hour or two ahead of or behind your normal schedule can send your kids’ nap and bedtime routine into a tailspin. Melissa Wenner Moyer, author of this article that originally appeared in Slate magazine online, had the following tips to minimize the disruption and get your child onto some semblance of a normal schedule during your trip:


  • For west-to-east trips, keep your little one on the same schedule as at home. This will mean a later bedtime for the kids (9 PM Eastern vs. 7 PM Mountain, for instance) but should also prevent them from waking up crazy-early when you are supposed to be on vacation.
  • For east-to-west trips, put your child down to bed or for naps at the same time that you do at home (7:00 PM bedtime in New York= 7:00 PM bedtime in L.A.) This will mean keeping your kids up an extra couple of hours later than you do at home, but that can be beneficial on a trip when there’s so much to do. Also, it will help them to assimilate to the new time zone more quickly, which will hopefully help them to wake up later in the morning while you are on your trip.
  • Try to skip or minimize nap on date of travel- If you’re feeling brave enough to try flying with your kids and not letting them nap on the flight, you can increase your chances of your children going to bed earlier in the evening when you arrive at your destination. If not napping isn’t an option, try to limit their nap to 20-30 minutes, which will be enough to take the edge off their sleepiness and make them less cranky by the end of the day, but not enough to let them fall into a deep sleep. (NOTE: Only try this if you are trying to get your kids onto the new time zone- if you choose to keep them on their own time schedule, just keep their routine as similar as possible.)
  • Try to take a night flight if you are going to be traveling across three or more time zones. Kids tend to sleep better on flights that last all night, and will wake up more rested and ready to begin their vacation.

Read the whole article here for more tips and the author’s own humorous insights from a recent trip she took with her son.


Have some more tips for dealing with jet lag in your kids’ schedules? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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