KinderHop :: Time Zones, Jet Lag & Kids

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KinderHop is published once monthly and written by Trip Styler’s Seattle-based kid ‘n family writer, Keryn.

Jet lag and time zone changes should not stop your travels when you have kids. Take it from me: I just spent a month with my baby and my toddler in Europe! With a few tips and a small adjustment to your expectations, you could be sipping svařené víno (mulled wine) at the Prague Christmas Market or dipping your toes in the sands of Maui this winter.

Stay Flexible You may not be able to hit the ground running right away. Nap times will be different, your child may need to eat more or you may need to go to bed earlier than usual. Embrace it.

Have Patience Jet lag can last 3-14 days---depending on how far you travel---and subsides with every passing day. Be mentally prepared for the adjustment; with a little flexibility you'll make it through.

Your First Night Could Get Rough If you've crossed a major time zone---or three---be sure to have a snack on hand and be prepared to watch a movie when your child wakes up at 3am ready to conquer the world. Don’t fight it; just know that it will get better every night.

Stick To Your Sleep Routine Do the same bedtime routine you'd do at home while traveling. Try to start as close to your usual bedtime as possible in the local time zone.

Give Yourself A Break The first few days of our travels, my husband and I always take turns getting up with the kids so that we each have a chance to sleep in. This helps us keep up with the kids and always makes our travels more relaxing and fun.

Take A Day Off Give yourself a buffer day---or two---to get back into the swing of things when you return home. Hire a babysitter so you can get a little extra rest, unpack and not pull your hair out chasing after the kids.

Your Child May Adjust Better Than You My kids have always switched time zones faster than me. Their circadian rhythms are so attuned to the sun they can get on local time in a few days, while it may take me longer.

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[photos by @walkingontravels]