Travel Time – Kids and Different Time Zones

kids travel, family travel, airport navigation

Changing time zones while traveling with kids can feel like an obstacle for parents. It can make the entire family grumpy and irritable. Everyone being tired and jetlagged can really take the joy out of the start of your family vacation.

The excitement building up to a vacation can be enormous and already make you a bit exhausted. You have grand visions of finally getting to your vacation destination, feeling rejuvenated, and letting the world slow down to a point of complete relaxation. In reality, the stress of getting ready the night before, getting to and navigating the airport (or other means of travel), and somehow keeping your kids entertained so they don’t’ complain the entire way can wipe you out before you even begin.

Traveling, Time zones, kids travel, family travel, airport navigation

Kids at the airport

The dreams you started with begin fade away when you and your family arrive completely exhausted and even worse jetlagged and off your internal clock. Getting over the jetlag and getting your time zone adjustment done is critical for an enjoyable time. Traveling children rarely understand the whole idea of time zones and cannot recognize when they are jetlagged.

Changing time zones while traveling with kids can feel like an obstacle for parents. Click To Tweet

It’s important to explain to children what time zones are and why it is morning here but bedtime there. Having a plan on how to address the time zone change early, will make it a much easier transition. Discuss the plan with your traveling children and make sure they understand that when you tell them they need to go to sleep, even though it would be lunchtime for them back home, that they need to rest and try and sleep. They need to get their time zone adjusted.

Bringing them on a Red Eye flight will certainly exhaust them. Just the rigors of navigating the airport and flying are tiring. Helping kids learn to listen to their body and what they need is a huge life skill. When they are having a melt down, which they will, start by asking your self some questions, like:

Traveling children rarely understand the whole idea of time zones and cannot recognize when they are jetlagged. Click To Tweet

Have they had enough water? Make sure they are hydrated. Being hydrated is one of the best cures for jetlag and adjusting to different time zones.

Have they had real food? Staying away from sugary and processed junk food will help stabilize their metabolism. A salad or piece of fruit might help.

Are they flat out tired and worn out? Maybe they need to rest, even if they can’t sleep have them close their eyes for 10 minutes or at least sit still and silent. It will help immensely.

Have they been overdosing on electronics? Every parent has a different opinion on the use of electronic devices by their children. Some are completely against it, while others hand them an iPad and pray the battery will last. The key is that electronic stimulation can affect the behavior of a child, especially when tired and jetlagged. Keep your sanity and the sanity of your children by regulating the amount of electronic stimulation they get while traveling. There is nothing wrong with watching a movie or playing some games while in route to your vacation destination, but take regular scheduled breaks and allow the child’s mind to refocus and let their bodies feel their natural cravings. On a long flight you may have them take a break for a meal or do some reading to break up the electronics time. This will help them relax more and maybe even take a much-needed nap!

It can all be harder for you than it can be for the kids to adjust. Probably because you are constantly watching over them, stressing if they are sleeping or at least going to behave while catch some sleep. The most important thing to remember is that you are off on an adventure and a vacation that your family will cherish for a lifetime. Just be patient, give each other some grace, relax, and just breathe. Most of all enjoy your vacation! – BLG

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