Leaping across time zones can force your child’s biological clock out of sync with the clock on the wall and his regular activities. When you travel long distances it’s important to be flexible and patient. Here are some more tips to make holiday travel easier on your child:
- Keep your child well hydrated with plenty of water, milk, juice or breastfeeding sessions.
- Travel with plenty of healthy, non-sugar snacks in your carry-on bag.
- Don’t use any over-the-counter products such as sleep-aids or antihistamines without your doctor’s specific approval and instructions. Many of these can be harmful to young children.
- Switch to the new time zone as soon as reach your destination. Powerful biological cues, such as the timing of meals and naps, plus exposure to daylight and darkness help the body adjust to the change in time more quickly.
- Avoid letting your child take excessively long naps at the wrong times. This will just prolong the adjustment. Keep naps to their regular length and wake your child gently.
- Watch the time. It’s easy to miss mealtimes, naptimes and bedtime when you’re on vacation yourself. However, if you stick to your child’s usual pattern you’ll be able to avoid any major meltdowns from a hungry, over-tired child.
Elizabeth Pantley is a mother of four and the best-selling author of eight parenting books, including: The No-Cry Sleep Solution and The No-Cry Discipline Solution. She is also a contributing author to The Successful Child with Dr. William Sears. Based in Washington, Pantley is the president of Better Beginnings Inc. (a family resource and education company) and a parenting expert for a variety of publications including: Parents, Parenting and Redbook. (www.pantley.com)