Travel tips - time change & Jet lag
It has taken you a few weeks to get your baby into a good schedule and sleeping well. Now that you’ve put in the time, effort, and energy to make this big change in your family’s life, that trip you have planned for next month is starting to stress you out! If you’re like most parents, your biggest fear is that a trip is going to derail all the progress you and your baby have made and cause you to start this process all over again. The good news is that it is possible to have children who travel really well, if you keep a few things in mind.
Time Changes and Jet Lag
When it comes to surviving the plane ride, the best piece of advice we can offer about traveling with kids is just to accept the fact that you’re traveling with kids! So plan ahead and bring as many things that you can think of to keep your baby occupied and comfortable. If you have to resort to “old ways” to get your child to settle down, then do so. Just know that as soon as you land, its back to the plan!
Well-rested children handle jet lag much better than sleep-deprived adults. If your baby has had a great schedule leading up to the trip, he should slide into the new time zone without too much trouble. It is best to adjust to the new time zone as quickly as you can.
If you really feel like your baby needs an extra nap to catch up a bit, try to limit it to 45 minutes. Try not to let her nap too close to bedtime. If it is a choice between a strangely timed dinner hour nap or an earlier bedtime, we always suggest you go with the slightly earlier bedtime.
Sunlight is a useful tool in helping both you and your child adjust to the new time zone, since light is the most powerful time cue our bodies have. Try to plan meals and socializing around the new time zone as well, and get an hour or two of fresh air in the early afternoon.
Make sure you do just the opposite when evening rolls around. Use the blackout blinds, and keep light to a minimum a couple of hours before you want your baby to go to bed. This will help stimulate melatonin production, making him sleeper. We always travel with some clips to secure curtains and tinfoil and tape to cover windows if needed! Also, if you use a white noise machine at home, bring it along.
In spite of their best efforts, many parents find themselves reverting back to old, familiar sleep props with their children when they travel. If you find that it has all fallen apart in just a week or two, the good news is that it is just as easy to get back on track within a week or two, too! So as soon as you get home, start your plan over – and hold tight to the memory that your child is capable of doing this! He just needs a push in the right direction from you.