One of the drawbacks of traveling from western countries to Thailand is the incredible amount of flying time it takes to get here. Jet lag and time differences are frustrating to deal with and even more so for children, who often don’t understand why they’re feelings so out of sorts and cranky. If you’re planning a trip to Thailand and will be flying with a child or children, make sure you follow these jet lag tips to prevent your child getting jet lag. Then, when you get here, you can enjoy your vacation instead of worrying about your child’s jet lag.
Surprisingly, jet lag and time differences on a trip to Thailand often affect adults more than they do children. For kids, there are a few simple tips you can follow so that any jet lag your child experiences is minor and fleeting.
1. Keep Your Child Up – If traveling from west to east (ie: western countries to Thailand), a few nights before you leave, keep your children up an hour longer each night and put them to bed closer to the time in Thailand. that way they go to bed later and get up later. While you might have a couple of nights where your kids are exhausted by the time they get to bed, it beats them being wiped out on the first few days of your Thailand holiday because of severe jet lag.
Check on this website for current time differences between where you’re coming from and Thailand and plan accordingly.
2. Change Meal Schedules – To prevent jet lag in your child, again, a few days before you leave, change the time of your child’s meals slightly, so he/she eats an hour later each day for every meal. By the time you arrive in Thailand, your child will be a few hours closer to Thai meal times. Then begin to feed her/him at normal Thai meal times.
Of course, the exception to this is a baby. They should always be fed on demand.
3. On Arrival, Get Meals on Thai Schedule – As soon as you arrive, get your kids onto a Thai schedule as soon as possible. This means, if your child wakes up at 3am do not give them breakfast until at least 6am, even though they want it. A snack at 3am is fine. A full breakfast is not. Eat breakfast at local Thai time, so your child (and you!) quickly begin to eat all your meals the same time as Thais do.
4. Once You’ve Arrived, Enjoy Lots of Daylight – For the first few days in Thailand, make sure you’re getting as much daylight as your kids can stand. All that bright light helps the body adjust to Thai time and also keeps your kids more awake and doing things.
5. Keep Your Kids Active – Get on the local Thai time and start doing lots of activities. That way, when your child does eventually crash at night (Thai time night of course), they’re more likely to sleep straight through as they’ll be so tired.
6. Put Them to Sleep at Thai Bedtime – When it begins to go dark and it’s close to a normal bedtime for your child (Thai time that is), put them to bed and encourage them to go to sleep. Even if it means them lying in bed feeling “not tired” for a few minutes, eventually they’ll doze off and get a good night’s sleep.
7. Have Books, Toys and a Snack Ready – Of course, they’re still likely to wake up earlier than you’d like. That’s why you want a supply of books, toys and a snack close by their bedside, so if they do wake up at 3am, you might get another hour’s sleep if they can keep themselves preoccupied.
7. Don’t Use Sleep Aids – Either before you arrive in Thailand or after you get here, don’t use sleep aids for your child. While a sleeping pill might knock them out initially, they’ll only end up feeling groggy, out of sorts and incredibly whiny from that heavy feeling a sleep aid will give them.
Photo copyright – Zzzzzz, by emrank, Creative Commons License