Jetlag in Babies & Kids
jet lag (noun) extreme tiredness and other physical effects felt by a person after a long flight across several time zones.
extreme tiredness and other physical effects felt by a mum every day without flying anywhere.
My best friend is flying over from the UK with my new Godson so I write this post for her and anyone else going on a long distance flight these holidays.
I am writing this from personal experience and not as a qualified child expert on sleep routines. Also every child and family is different, so what worked for my kids and what I found helpful, may not be something that suits you or that you may want to follow.
I have travelled numerous times across the world from the UK to Australia and Australia to the UK, with toddlers, children and the elderly (at the same time) and the honest truth is that unfortunately it can take three to five days for the established routines to fall back into place, for you and your little ones. So there is no point stressing, body clock adjust it just takes a little time.
Being the the parent (who cared for the child or children on the flight), you are actually more exhausted than ever when you return from home and all you want to do is sleep, when all your child wants to do is play. Their body clock has literally just switched naps and bedtime completely. Yikes!
My Jetlag Tips
- During the day get as much daylight as possible, play outside with your child if weather permits, go on a walk , go to the park- just get out there in to the natural light.
- Set a routine that extends across your regular timings, so if you child use to go to sleep at 7pm you may need to look at putting them to bed a few hours later.
- Let your child nap during the day but no longer than they usually did. Yes I was waking a sleeping child but otherwise they sleep too long and at bedtime they are still bouncing of the walls.
- Give them a bath using calming and relaxing essential oils like lavender or camomile.
- Spend time in the lead up to the later bed time, doing quiet activities, read a couple of books, give them a massage, sing lullabies. Play quiet relaxing music. Dim the lights.
- Waking up during the night and extra early starts normally occur for two nights. Let them play quietly in their room, bed or cot, keep the lights dimmed and try not to interact too much with them.
- I slept on a mattress on the floor in my son’s room while he was happily playing.
- Offer milk after a while and they should settle back to sleep.
- Day by day start bringing the bedtime back to your original routine.
- Take it in turns with your partner to care for the early riser.
- When toddler naps during the day, you nap too- set an alarm or you may both lull into a long sleep.
- Don’t be hard on yourself and try to unpack, tidy the house, do the laundry when you too have jet lag.
- Look after yourself so you have the energy later without feeling stressed and anxious to care for the little one.
- Drop the guilt, “Oh I’ve been home for two days and I haven’t unpacked-” so what is someone coming over to inspect?
- Call a friend if you need some me time to come and give you a hand for a couple of hours.
Your Jetlag Tips
If you have any jet lag tips yourself please leave a comment and share your wisdom