The best trick for coping with jet lag


Last year, we dealt with some pretty horrendous jet lag when we came to the U.S. In fact, Heidi never really got over it, and it was the start of a year of VERY LITTLE SLEEP. This year, I had a whole new approach to jet lag, and it saved us! Jet lag with one kid is really tough. But jet lag with two children is a whole other ballgame!

Back in the day, when one of the girls would wake up jet lagged in the middle of the night, I would get up with her, play quietly in a dimly lit room, and try to make sure she didn’t wake up her sister. Eventually, she would fall asleep. Then, the other child would wake up. Result – Mommy was awake ALL NIGHT LONG. Terrible approach!

This year, we changed things up. When Heidi woke up at 2 AM that first night (9 AM in Kenya!), I let her wake her sister. I left the lights out in their room, with a dim night light on. I left some books within reach. Then I went back to my bedroom and went to sleep.

The girls played together quietly for an hour, then Claire went back to sleep. Heidi played for another hour, then she went back to sleep. After that, they both slept until morning. Result – the girls were both up at the same time, instead of staggered throughout the night, and I got way more sleep! Each night, they slept a little longer, and played a little shorter. I hardly had to get up at all. By the fourth night, we were all sleeping through the night. AMAZING.

I’m curious to see how things work for us when traveling east, back to Kenya. In the past, I’ve let the girls sleep in that first morning as long as they need to, then I wake them one hour earlier each day until they’re back on schedule. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – right?

What jet lag tricks work for your family? For some great crowd-sourced tips on dealing with jet lagged kids, see here!

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One Response to The best trick for coping with jet lag

  1. Brynn says:

    We have had our best experience with jet lag the past few weeks in 7 years! Actually the last two have been good. We have three children now and live in Germany but visit our family in the US or go on vacation to the West as was the case this last time. My husband flew straight on to Singapore when we landed in Germany this last trip and I was with the kids alone from Day 1. I let them sleep on the way home (1.5 hour drive) and then let them stay up until I noticed yawning. For baby (10 months) that was 1:30 am the first night! And the big kids 11:30. BUT they all slept through until I woke them at 9:20. And I felt human. Each night we did the same and I put baby down at 10:30 but he would sleep restlessly until 12:30 the second night, 11:30 the third night, then I moved bedtime to 9:30 and we had a restless hour and now we are back to 8:30 bedtime for all three. Not back to the 7:30 that I need for baby yet but we have not had night waking a single time!! Amazing considering we have had years of 2-3 hours minimum in the middle of the night. Good luck and take it slow!

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