Helping the Family Recover from Jet Lag

27 July 2017, Richard Holmes

When you’re taking an overseas flight with little ones, whether you are going on holiday or returning home, it’s normal to worry about the impact of jet lag. Even a few hours’ time difference can unsettle everyone’s routine. But while it’s not possible to avoid, there are certain tactics you can use to improve how you all feel in the days after your flight.

1. Get a good night’s sleep before the flight

For most families, there’s no escaping the fact that sleeping on a plane is a challenge. So make sure everyone is tucked up in bed as early as possible the night before. Bring your evening mealtime forward an hour or so, and limit exposure to electronic devices before bedtime to help you and the children wind down more easily.

2. Choose your flight time carefully

Ideally, aim to take a late afternoon or evening flight. It’ll make it easier for you persuade your kids it’s bedtime, and you’ll also have more chance of getting a good few hours’ sleep yourself.

3. Stick to a routine

If possible, try to stick to your child’s usual nightly routine on the flight. Bring along their bedtime books, blankets, or any cuddly toys that settle them down. Get them dressed into their pajamas, sing them their favorite lullabies, and stick to any other nighttime routines that help them relax before bed.

4. Sleep when your child sleeps

When your little one nods off, it might be tempting to enjoy a drink while getting stuck into a good in-flight movie. But the best advice is that when your child sleeps, so should you. Even if it’s early in the evening, it’s a good idea to grab a few hours shut-eye. That way, you’ll at least be well rested if they do wake up in the night.

5. Pack healthy snacks

Some of the meals on flights can be heavily spiced, so it’s good to have lots of healthy snacks in reserve. Pack plenty of fruit, veggies, and any other snacks you know your little ones like. A hungry child is much less likely to sleep, so keeping them well fed is a big ingredient when it comes to warding off jet lag.

6. Get plenty of sunshine

Once you arrive at your destination, try to get everyone out in the sunshine. Our internal body clock is regulated by exposure to daylight, so a short time in the sun can help your family adjust. If the thought of anything other than bed sounds exhausting, at least aim for a short stroll around the block.

7. Plan an easy first few days

It may take you and the kids a few days to recoup after a long flight, so keep the days relatively free of exertion. Instead of racing to the beach or heading out on excursions,, you might just want to relax or watch TV in bed before a long and lazy breakfast. Taking the time to refresh will give you all the energy to beat jet lag!

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