Travelling with kids is full-on! Actually, just having kids is full-on! Travelling with them is downright crazy! But also fun, exciting, rewarding and something I could never imagine not doing. The experiences and memories taken away from travel are priceless, for both them and us as parents, and something I will always recommend to absolutely anyone and everyone. It certainly takes some courage though! Kids are demanding, emotional and unpredictable and that’s not even the half of it. Throw jet-lag into the mix and they are a nightmare……….or maybe not?
I know the thought is scary, terrifying even. You take your kids to a foreign country and already you are worrying about their behaviour, their safety and let’s be honest – your own mental well-being. But what happens when they have jet-lag? When they are so tired and their body clocks are so out of whack? Well, not a lot actually. Maybe they are a little more emotional. They may be more likely to have a meltdown. But that’s it. They will not morph in to the devil! And even if there is some resemblance, it won’t last long!
And so here it is – the secret to surviving jet-lag with kids. The one thing you need to do:
Yes! Simple as that! You do nothing. Pretend there is no such thing!
I am not crazy. I have flown internationally with kids of all ages many, many times and I am completely confident that this is the fastest and simplest way to combat the dreaded jet-lag. Kids are extremely adaptable. A lot more than many parents realise. If they miss a nap or have a poor night’s sleep, it is ok. They will have gotten over it quicker than it takes for you to stop stressing about it. And that’s the same with jet-lag.
To be more clear, here is what you do:
Whatever time it is when you land, where you land, you just go from there as you would at home. If you land in the morning, or any time during the day for that matter, DO NOT put them to bed. If you arrive at 2am, sure, put them to bed, but get them up at the time they would normally get up. If they hardly got any sleep on the plane, bad luck. They will sleep really, really well that next night! Start trying to catch up on sleep, attempt to calculate and combat time differences and you will be all over the shop for days. The best thing you can do is get on with the day. Rip the bandaid off quickly! Sure, they will probably be a bit extra emotional. They may very well in fact drive you completely crazy. But half a day (or even a whole day), reminiscent of scenes from The Exorcist, will be short lived, and before you know it you can start actually enjoying yourselves and stop wondering how on earth you could have ever thought bringing children on holiday could possibly be a good idea!
So, have lunch at lunch time, dinner at dinner time and put them to bed at bed time. They will sleep. Well! And so will you. And then the next day is just that – the next day. A whole new day! Enjoy!