The summer holidays are almost over, and if you’ve travelled internationally, you’re likely to be experiencing the least favorite part of everyone’s holiday, jet lag! Jet lag is not just about being tired, or waking in the middle of the night. It leaves everyone feeling unbalanced, flat, out of sync, and sometimes nauseous.
While jet lag is inconvenient, one of the key things to remember is, it doesn’t last forever! Once you have arrived home for the start of the school year, here are some tips to help you and your little ones settle back into a regular pattern!
1| Allow recovery time
Unfortunately, adjusting your body clock is not an overnight process. For international flights, it can generally take anywhere from three days up to one week to reset your internal clock. All children are different, and often it can depend on the age of your child.
2| Edge towards the desired time zone
As difficult as it is, it is important to get up and moving with usual daily activities at home. Ensure wake-up times, naps, meals and regular bedtimes edge kids towards their home time zone.
3| Factor jet lag into your plans
Try not to plan full, busy days in the first couple of days back. Allow everyone in the family time to recover from the holiday and journey. Expect them (and you!) to be a little bit grumpy, but be patient and let it pass.
4| Utilize natural light
Daylight and sunshine will naturally reset your internal clock to your home time zone. Even if it is midnight back in your holiday destination, seek natural light at home! This will tell your body that its daytime, not nighttime.
5| Adjust meals
Eat the right meal at the right time. If it is dinner time in your holiday destination, but breakfast time at home, eat what you would normally eat for breakfast. In other words, don’t tuck into a huge plate of pasta or steak at 7 am.
6| Use alarm clocks for naps
You’re playing a dangerous game if you and the kids lie down for a quick afternoon siesta ‚ because with your body clock being very confused, this can turn into a seven-hour solid nap! Try to limit daytime naps to two hours maximum, to give your body the best chance at adjusting quicker, and being able to go off to sleep at night.
7| Dim lighting
During the first couple of nights, kids may wake in the middle of the night, hungry and alert. Even though this is to be expected, try not to cave in and turn on all the lights. Attend to them with a quick snack, but keep the lights dim, and encourage them to go back to bed. If they are too alert, let them stay up and play a little with quiet activities, again keeping the lights low so their body can understand it is still night time.
If you have crossed time zones, jet lag is an inevitable part of travel. We’ve all been there! There is no quick cure, but with these tips, you may cope a little better as you all adjust to reality!
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