BY JOSH WAKERMAN
Ok, so the headline you just read is indeed a shameless plug for my children’s book series.
Sorry not sorry.
This little article however, is not.
I think it’s time we talked about traveling with little kids. Scrolling down one’s Facebook feed it’s hard to miss. There they are – that photogenic family you know, still dripping from a swim in the resorts infinity pool, all smiling for the camera that’s being held by the waiter that’s just dropped off two happy-hour cocktails, a watermelon shake and a bowl of hot chips. Ah, travelling with the kids is glamourous right? Right?
You know, I’d feel better if just once I saw a photo of you and your daughter wide awake at 3am watching Puerto Rican news on the TV, or of your son fast asleep at dinner, face-planted in a bowl of spaghetti.
Why? Because Jet Lag, especially for kids, is not only real, but inevitable. Especially for those going on long journeys across the globe.
Now, there’s no known cure for jet lag, but here are a few tips to help you all cope.
Stick to home-time.
Going somewhere where the time difference is less than three or four hours? Maybe you should keep your watch on ‘home time’ and stick to the schedule you have at home. I’d highly recommend it especially if you’re away for only a few days. We recently did this while in Fiji and it meant we could to go out for dinner with our daughter, which is near impossible back home (unless we have dinner at old-folks time).
Let’s get physical.
Exercise isn’t only good for you, it also minimises jet lag by tiring out your body and getting it ready for sleep. So walk the streets with your kids instead of jumping in an uber. On a resort? Get them involved in an activity in the kids club stat (Ah, we love you kids club, oh yes we do).
Don’t blame it on the sunshine.
Simply because sunshine, or sunlight, helps your little ones adjust to the local time. Our internal body clock is intrinsically linked to the amount of sunlight we receive, so get up early, get outside and get on with your trip.
If you can’t lay-in, layover!
When planning your trip, include a layover or two. I know this sounds crazy (what? Make an unnecessary stop with my 17 kids and 25 suitcases?) but breaking a trip up into more manageable time-zone blocks means your child’s jet lag will be less severe.
Routine is thy saviour.
Apologies for getting all religious here, but you’ll be calling out for jesus if you don’t manage your kids’ jet lag properly. One way of doing this is by sticking to some kind of home routine. We understand that keeping to your ‘home routine’ while away sounds ridiculous, but try to incorporate little bits of their routine which will give them the ‘cues’ they need to help them eat, bathe and not go mental when it’s bedtime.
Prepare for a pyjama party!
For significant time changes your kids will probably wake up during the night for the first night or two. How do you prepare for this? Firstly, go to bed early yourself so you’re well rested. Secondly, make sure you’re ready to let your kids play or have a light snack. Don’t go all militant on them, be accepting and join in the party.
At the end of the day, if you adhere to some of the advice above, the effects of jet lag will subside and you can then get on with all the other problems kids give you whilst on holiday. Just kidding – I mean enjoy your holiday with the ones you love. Yeh, that’s better.
Josh Wakerman is the Co-Author of the Jett Around The World Book Series, discover the world of Jett HERE.