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