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Tips for dealing with jet lag flying east … with kids

Tips for dealing with jet lag flying east … with kids

It is a common belief that jet leg seems undeniably worse when you travel east. The body just doesn’t seem to readjust as quickly. When I travelled east pre-chilren I would have a sleep strategy for on the plane to prepare my body for the time change. But travelling with a toddler is very much a case of let sleeping dogs lie on the plane!  I’d much rather deal with a grumpy jet lagged child at the destination rather than on a plane. So here are my tips for dealing with jet lag going east with kids.

Dealing with Jet Lag Flying East

Make the journey as comfortable as possible

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Nothing is worse than a tired small child in a small space. On the plane, we let our little one sleep as she wants. Make sure you make the journey as comfortable as you can for them. Ring ahead and see if you can get a bassinet for a little one and get any sleeping aids for older children that you think might help them.

The dream would be business class flights so everyone can have a bed. But that is not realistic for everyone.

Adjust to Local time

Whenever I travel, I always set my watch to the local time when I get on the plane. It is important once you are off your flight to make sure you force yourself to the new zone. This includes:

Eating the Correct Meals at the Correct Times

Nothing gets the body use to local times like eating breakfast in the morning. Whether it is mental or physical – I don’t know but having the correct meal schedule helps your body readjust  to the new timezone.

But remember …

You will need lots of snacks

Although it is important that you have the right meals at your right time, children may wake up hungry . Keep lots of snacks in your room so you don’t have a middle of the night meltdown. And be sure to stay hydrated on the plane too. 

Bedtime routine

If you have a bedtime routine, do it. Children know their routines and it may help to prepare them  to go bed when they might not be feeling tired.

Dark room

Nothing helps sleep more than a dark room. Make sure you get the room as dark as you can to get the kids into a relaxed, sleepy state.

Daylight helps jet lag

Wandermust Family at the Golden Pavillion

Wandermust Family at the Golden Pavillion

And if dark helps sleep, then the same is true for the daytime. Get out and into the sunshine as much as possible. Exercise and daylight will help the body readjust to its new time setting

Still worried about jet lag going East? Why not split your journey

Why not think about splitting your journey. If you are travelling a long distance, you could stop somewhere in the middle so it isn’t such an extreme time jump.

For more parental guidance on jet lag check out this fab guide by mini travelers and our friends at learning escapes 

What are your tips for dealing with jet lag going East with kids?
Further reading on surviving jet lag

Cath - BattleMum

Monday 20th of November 2017

We've only travelled East coming back from the States and to be fair our son has dealt with it quite well. He has tended to sleep a bit on the plane coming back and then has a long sleep in the morning when we arrive back, and within a day or two is back to normal. That said we haven't actually flow EAST twowards the Middle or Far East so I'm not sure if he'd deal with it the same. But these are a great set of tips! #wanderlustkids


Thursday 9th of November 2017

Kids are way ahead of us when it comes to jetlag. Mine have never been bothered - they sleep a bit more, here and there, until they get back on it. Me, on the other hand. Oh my days. And I follow all these tips I swear!!


Baby Loves Travel

Wednesday 1st of November 2017

I've never really nailed dealing with jetlag - I start with good intentions of following your tips but then give up and go to sleep. I will have to try harder! #wanderlustkids

Ting at My Travel Monkey

Sunday 29th of October 2017

Great tips - and as someone who suffers badly with it, I agree with sunshine! It does help!


Sunday 29th of October 2017

I sometimes find a night flight helps, and getting into the new time zone quickly is also a great tip. Jet lag can put so many people off from travelling distances with kids. Great tips Leona :)