Jet Lag leaves adults tired, cranky and many times, physically ill. For children the adjustment from one time zone to another is even more difficult. Young children, especially, are very sensitive to any changes in their schedules and react poorly to sudden time differences.
Avoiding jet lag for your children makes good sense for everyone.
If traveling by air, try to travel during your child’s normal sleep time in the new time zone. It is likely they will nap during part of the trip.
Push fluids. Keeping well hydrated will go a long way toward alleviating symptoms of jet lag. Water is best, sports drinks are good, but avoid carbonated sodas.
Avoid junk foods. Sugar and high fat carbs like cookies and chips will make blood sugar unstable and make your child more fussy. At the same time, try to keep the child’s diet as close to normal as possible.
Try to get your child prepared for the new time zone by adjusting their schedule gradually over a week or two before the trip. If this is not practical, have your child go to bed in line with the new time zone the day before the trip. When you arrive at your destination, let them nap, but keep them on the new time.
Physical activity will help your child’s body deal with the jet lag. Take them for a walk around the new city, a swim in your hotel pool or let them run through a park when you get to your destination. It will also help to let your child walk around on the plane often.
Parents should remember jet lag effects adults and children equally and that children are not as psychologically able to push past the physical effects. Children may need extra nap time for a few days upon arrival at the new destination.