How best to deal with jet lag in young DS?

(12 Posts)
sidebysides Tue 30-Apr-13 08:40:06

We're off to NY with our 2.5 year old DS. I'm quite worried about jetlag at both ends (I've never been good with it). I don't know what to expect or how best to handle it.

Any tips really welcome.

Thanks

Going there shouldn't be too bad - travelling West always feels better and you'll both be excited and busy. Just be prepared for everything to not quite run by the clock and you'll be fine.

Coming back is a different matter. Make sure both of you drink lots during the flight (water/juice, etc., rather than alcohol) as dehydration makes jet lag worse, so I'm told. When you get back home, go outside for a bit as apparently sunlight helps reset your body clock a bit.

Lastly, brace yourself! Expect one night's disturbed sleep per hour of time difference and for it to get slightly better on each of those nights.

Oh, and hope he isn't like my Dd, who is dreadful with jet lag and who won't sleep for weeks. She's unusual, though!

froginthepond Tue 30-Apr-13 08:53:01

Hi Side, we were off to the middle east last month which was ds first holiday he is 3.6. There was not a big time difference just 3 hours so i know its not the same as NY but we found that just filling the day full of stuff and keeping him full of water and snacks worked along with the excitement of new things. He did go to bed about an hour earlier than if he was at home as he was just knacked after his evening meal at about 5pm so he was in bed and sleeping for just 6pm instead of 7pm. The first night he was all out of sorts and very late to bed local time but normal UK time so his first day he was like a zombie but a very excited zombie. I let him nap one day and it was a big mistake as he ended up being up really late that night so we did not do that again. We hope to go to America next year where the time difference is bigger so im watching for more tips too smile Hope you have a great time! we would love to take ds to NYC.

PeriPathetic Tue 30-Apr-13 09:02:02

Natural daylight and lots of physical activity! Spend as much time as you can outside in the fresh air.
He may wake up at odd times; usually at what would be meal times at home.
Try to ensure he eats well during the day, and keep some snacks to hand for the first two or three nights for emergencies.

sidebysides Tue 30-Apr-13 09:20:05

So, sorry, I'm being really obtuse...but I should expect him to wake in the night a lot both sides of the trip? While we are away and when we are back? And when he does wake, is it likely to be for hours or just disturbed sleep?

My two woke early when we were there (Midwest) and in the night when we were back home (England). Ds was generally awake for an hour and was often hungry. Dd was awake for longer. I would imagine dd's reaction is more 'normal'. Dd has never been the Queen of Sleep.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Tue 30-Apr-13 12:03:05

Patience and adjusting to his natural rythm rather than getting frustrated because he cant follow your agenda!

Agree expose to natural daylight and exercise as much as possible and make sure you have good black out curtains to stretch the night.

Talk to your gp about melatonin dosage maybe? <<disclaimer: never used, but friends swear it works>>

Cerisier Tue 30-Apr-13 12:03:17

Get DS up on time next morning after you get home. Don't let him lie in even if he has had a bad night. I find heading straight back to school sorts the jet lag quickly in my teens. Coming back and still being on holiday means it can take weeks to fully reset the body clock (as dragging reluctant huge teenagers out of bed doesn't work, they'll happily sleep on the floor).

MasterOfTheYoniverse Tue 30-Apr-13 13:02:57

Cerisier, the child is 2.5 grin the parents are more likely to behave like teenagers and drop on the floor!
OP, how long in NY?

sidebysides Tue 30-Apr-13 14:47:30

Master - 10 days including days we fly.

Have organised flights so that we arrive in NYC late afternoon and back here early evening

He's generally a very good sleeper - so here's hoping

Actually, I am a very early riser - around 5-5.30 most mornings - so it won't be a huge shock for me to have weird wakings

NY will be fine. We've flown between Asia, Europe and the us since dd2 was born, normally with an 8 hour or 13 hour time difference. Make sure you get up when it's light at your destination and try to keep going. Sleep with curtains open so that natural sunrise wakes you up at the right time. If you need to nap, nap at 12 noon and get up again by 2 pm at the latest. Keep busy during the day and if you are awake when it's dark, drink milk, eat cookies and watch a movie for an hour or two, then try to sleep again.

Be aware that eating and toilet rhythms will be out too so just eat when you are hungry, which won't be at your destination mealtimes. I normally put dd2 in a nappy just after she potty trained as she wanted wees in the middle of the night - her body thought it was morning.

They say it takes a day to get over every hour of time difference but its probably half that to be honest. Enjoy your trip.

sidebysides Tue 30-Apr-13 15:20:43

Thanks everyone, some great advice

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