Family Travel Survival Guides: Jetlag with Kids

How to beat jet lag when travelling with kids

Nothing takes the edge off a holiday like a child with jet lag. Go long haul and you have to expect a few early mornings/late nights, but to avoid playing Lego at midnight and making meals in the small hours, follow these simple rules:

  • Don’t skip naps on the travel day hoping that they will be tired for the flight – it will backfire.
  • If you are lucky enough to have a child who will actually sleep amidst all the excitement of a flight – let them.  Any rest they can get is good, irrespective of time zones.
  • On arrival, put them to bed at the correct time in your destination, regardless of when you land.
  • If they need a nap on arrival, try and wake them at least four hours before bedtime.
  • Switch mealtimes to the new time zone as soon as you board the plane – snack to keep them going.
  • Get outside as soon as possible. Sunshine, even just daylight is the quickest way to adjust the body clock.
  • Keep them hydrated – dehydration intensifies jet lag (in all of us).

Have you flown long haul with children? Tell us what worked for you.


  • Isabelle says:

    As a mum of a lively boy with family overseas – in France and Mauritius, we always choose really early flights (to France). That way, by the time we board our flight, our son is generally so tired that he falls asleep until we land! when we travel long-haul I always choose night-flights so that by the time we arrive, we start the day as normal. The only downside is that he sleeps during the flight and we don’t…

  • Esme says:

    Agreed. I always book (late) night flights for long haul.

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