Dealing with a regular cranky toddler is tough enough, but a jet-lagged toddler is another matter entirely. It's a rough state. To make the best of things when you travel, there are a few toddler jet lag hacks that just might work for your family. Traveling is stressful enough already, and it helps everyone when your kid can more or less function in the right time zone.
Jet lag is tough for most everyone, because it messes with the body's internal clock in a serious way. A temporary sleep disorder, jet lag happens when people quickly travel across several time zones, as noted in Medical News Today. It often messes with a person's circadian rhythm and sleeping patterns. Depending on how far you travel, jet lag can make you feel wide awake all night and dead on your feet all day. It can wreck havoc on adults, but toddlers are also subject to the effects of traveling to new time zones.
Even if your home bedtime and nap time routine is totally solid, expect some delays when you travel long distances with your toddler. Thankfully, these tips will help both you and your little one adapt to your new surroundings as quickly as possible.
1. Consider An Overnight Flight
If it makes sense with your travel schedule, an overnight flight may be the best way to kick off your trip. "If it’s nighttime, you’ll have an easier time convincing them it’s bedtime!" said Danna Brumley, co-owner of Earthbound Expeditions, in Parent Map. The best case scenario is that you all rest well on the plane and arrive at your destination more or less rested.
2. Stay Hydrated
That cabin air can be so drying. Plus, dehydration can make jet lag's physical symptoms even worse, as explained in Harvard Health Publishing. Make sure your kid has plenty to drink before and during the trip, even if that entails an extra bathroom trip or two.
3. Snack On Bananas
When your kid is up in the middle of the night, consider a little snack to help them get back to dreamland. Comforting foods such as warm porridge or some bananas might help your jet-lagged kid sleep, as noted in Flying With A Baby. Seriously, stock up on bananas, because their potassium and magnesium contents might promote sleep, as explained by the National Sleep Foundation.
4. Pace Yourselves
Don't plan on anything super strenuous the day you land in your destination. Instead, make sure you and your baby have a little time to adjust to the new time zone first, as noted in Baby Adventuring. Maybe the first day of your trip can be pretty low-key.
5. Get Natural Sun
Help your biological clocks reset themselves. Getting as much natural light as possible at your new destination can help your clocks reset, so to speak, as explained in The New York Times. Just be sure to wear sunscreen if you'll be in direct light for long.
6. Travel Blackout Blind
Your kiddo will probably miss their comfortable room at home. To make their travel lodgings more comfortable, consider getting a travel blackout blind to block all light at night. Your kid will hopefully sleep better in total darkness.
7. Take It In Humor
Despite your best efforts, any trip is going to have some issues. So when your kid is running laps around the hotel at 3:00 a.m. because their clock didn't reset, try to smile. One day this will make for a pretty funny family story. In the meantime, plan to double down on your coffee in the morning.