8 ways to handle junior’s jet lag

Be prepared, because managing your mini-me’s jet lag can determine the course – and fate – of your holiday!

are such great fun for everyone. The kiddos get to explore new surroundings, savour new foods and spend uninterrupted hours with mummy and daddy, who are also enjoying their time off from work!

As we become more adventurous and well-travelled, parents these days are also willing to cross time-zones and do long-haul trips with their young kids. No doubt, it will be an amazing experience for all, but such extensive travelling can also be physically draining, especially for inexperienced little travellers.

“I still remember the first time we went Europe with our then 5-month-old baby. Our first night there, my baby woke up every 30 minutes screaming,” says mum Natasha Lim. “He would only take sips of milk, fall asleep and wake up screaming soon after. It lasted the entire night, for four nights. Needless to say we were pretty traumatised.”

Jet lag can be hard on adults, so what more when it comes to babies and tots who have no idea what’s going on in their bodies. This feeling might not last long, but it can affect how well your holiday is going. Admit it, the last thing you want is an exhausted and constantly cranky child while taking a long road trip.

The bad news is that you can’t avoid jet lag totally. However, there are steps you can take to minimise the effects it has on your child. In fact, all these tips will also work on you!


Tip #1 Make sure junior is well rested the weeks leading up to the trip

A well-rested child is always more able to adapt to a new time zone as compared to a child, or even an adult, who has not been getting sufficient rest. We know the weeks leading up to a big trip are usually busy with last-minute shopping, packing and repacking. As you deal with the inevitable vacation prep, don’t compromise on your child’s health. Make sure you’re not keeping junior past his bedtime or letting him skip naps as you run errands. Keep putting your kewpie down at the same times for naps and evening sleep. He needs as much rest as he can get.


A well-rested child is always more able to adapt to a new time zone as compared to a child, or even an adult, who has not been getting sufficient rest.


Tip #2 Ensure your child is already on a bedtime routine

Do make sure your little one is already on a set bedtime routine before you start making long-haul vacation plans. The reason behind this is simple. Different countries have different seasons, and depending on what they are, you might have to adjust to longer or shorter hours of sunlight. So, if you’re travelling to America during summer, expect the sun to set close to 9pm and rise again by 4am. This means junior might only go to bed when it’s dark and wake up once the first ray of sunlight hits him. Do the math and you’ll realise it doesn’t total up to a lot of sleep, which will only exacerbate jet lag.

“We’ve always had a strict bedtime routine since our daughter was a baby,” notes mum Preetie Gill. “A bath, book and snuggles means it’s time for bed, so it didn’t matter where we were, or if it was still bright outside at 7pm. She would consider it as her bedtime. Black out curtains also helped a lot!”  So, if you want your child to sleep well while on holiday, which can play a big part in how quickly she recovers from jet lag, start the routine today!


Tip #3 Get them to sleep as much as possible on the flight

Once again, it’s all about making sure your kiddo gets as much rest as possible. By the way, as tempting as it might be to keep junior awake on the flight so that they will crash once you get to your destination, don’t do it. It only adds to the confusion their body is already going through. Also, don’t drug your child so that he’ll sleep longer on the flight and don’t keep them up the entire day before a flight, so they’ll crash the minute they get onboard. It may seem like an easy way out, but these tactics do not result in a well-rested child and will only add to the toll the travelling is taking on their little bodies.