Travel; 5 Top Tips when Dealing with Timezone Changes

Timezones and jetlag are tough enough to deal with when you’re aware of what’s going on and just why you feel so disoriented.

But what if you’re a baby, toddler or child? Who can’t comprehend what’s going on or why it’s light when it should be dark. Why there’s no dinner when it should be dinner time. All of that coupled with travelling and being out of routine anyway can make for a bumpy start to a holiday.

We often cross timezones. Our biggest was flying from the UK to Singapore for our honeymoon with an 8 hour difference. Something we are repeating the other way in January when we head on our cruise in the Caribbean (but more on that next week!)

So just how do you help children deal with crossing multiple timezones? It can be hit and miss but there are ways you can help them adjust quickly, here are my five top tips when dealing with timezone changes with children, though as a general rule of thumb if you want to know when they will naturally adjust it’s said a day for each hour difference.

Five Top Tips when Dealing with Timezone Changes….with Children

1. Work to local time as soon as you arrive

There is often little point in saying to yourself, your husband, or your children “ooh well at home it’s only XYZ” because you aren’t at home. You are somewhere else and the time is not XYZ where you are. The time is the time. It’s disorientating at the best of times thinking about it. Best just not to mention and get on with it!

2. Consider keeping your children on their local time zone

Sometimes timezones can work in your favour, we flew to Thailand this summer for a short break which is 3 hours ahead of Dubai. By keeping the Toddler on Dubai time we got to keep him up and go out for dinner, without meltdown, until 10pm. We also got to lie in until 9am which was wonderful.


3. Get outside as much as you can

It’s proven that being outside and in natural daylight helps the body produce melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that makes you sleepy. The more melatonin produced, the sleepier you are. Help yourselves by getting outside, getting some fresh air and getting some of that vital vitamin D from the sunshine.


4. Follow your normal mealtime routine

Food is a key indicator of time of day (except maybe in our house where we are known to have Weetabix for dinner) you eat around the same time every day, with certain foods indicating certain times of day (except Weetabix obviously) even if you aren’t hungry sitting down to eat will help to trigger your body into it’s new routine.

Enjoying dinner in Bali
Enjoying dinner in Bali

5. Relax!

Remember, you’re all on holiday. If they are up late a night or 2 don’t stress about it. If they get up earlier than normal, try for a family siesta. If they don’t want to eat, try not to make it too much of a battle.

Sundowners in Thailand
Sundowners in Thailand

Relax. Enjoy. Worry about it when you get home…


Five top tips for dealing with timezone changes; ways to beat jet lag when you travel with children.



  1. November 14, 2015 / 3:18 pm

    These are great tips, I do not have kids yet but I myself struggle when I travel to different time zones. When I go east I do not have much of a probably as soon as I get there I work on their time but going west kills me big time.

    • Laura
      November 17, 2015 / 8:05 pm

      I find the same. I try to take a nap when I go west and then push through!

  2. November 14, 2015 / 3:29 pm

    This is such a fantastic tips for those of you travelling with kids. Thank you for sharing.

  3. November 14, 2015 / 4:00 pm

    I totally agree – nothing worse than people constantly reminding you of the other time when you’re trying to adapt. Sunlight, straight onto the routine + mealtimes is how I do it. Plus the knowledge night one will be rubbish!

    • Laura
      November 17, 2015 / 8:06 pm

      And maybe night two will be rubbish too but you’re on holiday right?

  4. November 14, 2015 / 6:36 pm

    I like the idea of keeping a child on their own time zone. Lovely to get a lie in and not have melt downs at dinner.

    • Laura
      November 17, 2015 / 8:06 pm

      The theory is great. It kinda worked in reality! I find it better when you’re going East rather than west though!

  5. November 14, 2015 / 7:26 pm

    I like the idea of keeping the small ones in their time zone, I am lucky I have never suffered with jet lag but the one thing that does throw me out totally is when the clocks go back and forward an hour. It takes me a week or so to properly adjust x

  6. November 15, 2015 / 1:36 pm

    Sone great tips thank you šŸ™‚ we travelled to Canada this Summer and Monjey coped better with the time difference than us! I think it’s because of the time of day we travelled šŸ™‚ xxx

    • Laura
      November 17, 2015 / 8:07 pm

      Ooh what time of day did you travel? We’ve started flying overnight to help as well! X

  7. November 15, 2015 / 4:20 pm

    That ‘Enjoying Dinner in Bali’ photo is hilarious! Haaa. Love the tips, thanks for sharing!

    • Laura
      November 17, 2015 / 8:20 pm

      It was like that every single night….

  8. November 16, 2015 / 1:25 am

    We’ve only ever travelled places with an hour or two difference and that was a struggle enough haha – these tips will be great for when we visit the US šŸ™‚ x

    • Laura
      November 17, 2015 / 8:25 pm

      An hour is lovely to keep them on their own time! Ooh where in the US are you going? X

  9. November 16, 2015 / 5:37 pm

    I totally agree re. getting out in the sun as its a great way to awaken yourselves and children. I can’y imagine how children must feel with the difference x

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