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jet lag with kids: avoid the 2 am wake-ups
When you are traveling with your kids, especially internationally, one of the toughest things to deal with is the time difference. As adults we are affected by it, but we seem to have an easier time adjusting than our kids. We just got back from India 5 days ago and getting back into our routine has been pretty tough! The kids sleeping and waking up at odd hours of the night, and because of this, are eating at odd hours. India is 13 and half hours ahead, so we have been up at 2 AM with our kids almost every night. We have tried to prevent them from sleeping for a long time during the day so they will sleep better during the night, but it is very hard for them to fight through being extremely tired. Since I am currently experiencing the difficulties of readjusting, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my tips with you, and hopefully make your experience a little less stressful.
- Be ready for it! Jetlag is no joke, especially with kids, and unfortunately there is no way to avoid it. Be ready to use all of the patience you have been saving up, and be ready to lose a lot of sleep(more than usual). Coming back from India has taken a toll on our bodies. You will get frustrated, but know that if you push through it and after a week of sacrificing your own need to sleep, things should start to get back to normal.
- The sunshine is your best friend! Being out in the sun and being active helps with jet lag. If the kids are about to fall asleep in the middle of the day, go for a walk or take them to the park. It’s proven that the sunshine helps you stay awake!
- Get back into your routine asap! As soon as you get in, get them back into your routine. If you eat breakfast at 8 am then try eating at that time, if the kids go to sleep at 8pm then try getting them into bed at that time. The sooner things get back to normal for them, the quicker the process should be. I know it’s easier said than done, especially the first couple days, but trust me, it will make a difference. Do the best you can and just remember patience, patience, patience!!
- Set your watch to local time the minute you arrive or even when you board the plane! This will help you stay on track and you can even use the plane ride to help start your adjustments, especially if it is a long international flight.
- Keep the naps short and sweet! Allow naps, but keep them short. On the first day back my kids took five-hour naps, so when it came time for bed they were wide awake. Try to limit this habit to the first couple days you are back. Let them nap, because we all know those meltdowns can be hard on everyone, but limit it to a power nap, maybe 45 minutes to an hour. And try to keep those naps in the morning/early afternoon. The later in the day they nap, the less likely they are to go to sleep at bedtime.
Just remember, readjusting won’t happen over night, but stick with it and things should get back to normal a lot quicker than you expect. I can’t stress it enough, patience will be your best friend. It is a lot harder for your kids so keep that in mind when your frustration starts to build and the lack of sleep is catching up to you, because in the end everyone will be a lot better off!!