There is nothing worse than having just survived a long distance flight with kids and then being faced with the problem of not only your own jetlag but your kid's jetlag! However there are ways of helping your kids overcome that exhausted, out of sync feeling that crossing time zones can cause. Given time the body will adjust itself and the way to do this (for adults and kids) is to get on local time, eat, sleep and play when the locals do.
Before you even leave home try adjusting their sleeping hours slightly. You won't manage to completely switch the clock but at least head in that direction but getting them up an hour earlier/later and off to bed earlier/later depending on where you will be traveling to. It's also a good idea to explain the concept of Jet Lag to kids, that way at least they'll understand why they're feeling out of sync. If possible get kids to sleep on the plane preparing them for the new time difference. You can do this by letting them stay up late the day before the flight.
Consider how long you will be traveling for, if you are going on a short trip there may not be any point in fighting the Jet Lag, just schedule your outings for early morning or late afternoon depending on which is closest to your home time zone. However, if you are on a longer trip allow yourselves the first day to adjust and only after that launch into sightseeing and activities.
If you are trying to overcome jetlag then these tips will help!
Sunlight and activity
The body uses sunlight to tell it when to be awake or asleep so get the kids out into the sun during daylight hours. To keep them awake in the daylight hours of your new location make sure that you have scheduled the activities that will most interest them for the first few days. In other words rather visit a water park or zoo on the first day than a museum! This is a key jetlag remedy!
When it is getting to the time they would normally go to sleep, that's the time to take them out to do something interesting. Also have them running around before the local time to go to bed in order to tire them out so that they sleep better.
No matter what time of day you arrive at your destination immediately start to keep them awake during the day and in bed at night according to the new time zone. Even if they battle to stay awake or go to sleep, insist on them staying in bed until they fall asleep or if it is day time keep them very busy and awake until night fall. Use hotel curtains to block out the light so they can sleep and leave curtains open if getting up is going to be the problem.
If kids wake up during the night don't bring them into the light rather try to keep the sleepy mood in a quiet atmosphere, with no big midnight meals and get them straight back into bed after a glass of water or milk. This is a very important jetlag remedy as it keeps the body in the correct mode -sleep or wake.
Food is another way the body knows how to set its clock, feed your kids on local time, especially before going to bed so they don't wake up in the middle of the night hungry.
So having allowed yourselves the first day to slowly adjust, and having kept kids active during the daytime and in bed (tired or not) at night you may still feel the need to let them nap during the day. Naps can help with the adjustment so long as they don't turn into a 3-4 hour siesta! Go for short naps of 20 minutes followed by some favorite food and a fun activity in bright light.
While taking care of the kids don't forget that you too need to reset your clock, so sleep at night when you have them in bed and be active with them during the day.
What are your suggestions to overcome jetlag?