Question- How do we manage kids jet lag with a time zone difference? How long does it take?
Lakshmi’s Learning- We have done this many times during our travels which have included everything ranging from: -3 hours to +16 hours... and of course, made mistakes and learned along the way. Here is an “optimal” way... and we adults have to do it too. (We are in Australia now +16 hours from US eastern time zone)
The recommendation is simple- once you are in the new time zone- everyone stay on that new time zone! Even if everyone is exhausted and it’s 5pm- do not go to sleep. Stay up, walk around, do fun things, exhaust yourselves and the kids! IF everyone needs a little nap after lunch time- then fine (2-3 hours max). But do not make that 5 hours- then you will struggle with waking up in middle of the night (I learned this earlier this year while in Dubai- I too took a 5 hour afternoon nap with the kids and they were up in the middle of the night).
Can the method really work- well, I am posting this at 7:30am Australia time and kids are still sleeping (bedtime last night was at 8:30pm after bath and story time- just like our regular routine at home).
**Please note that this can vary with smaller toddlers who have multiple naps in one day. My recommendation is- don’t turn an afternoon nap into night bed time. Kids need to readjust their bodies and you have to help them even when you are exhausted. Also- the next day after you land- keep a lighter schedule of sight seeing (e.g no tour starting at 8am)!