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London/Paris Trip with 2 children & Jet Lag

London/Paris Trip with 2 children & Jet Lag

Jan 30th, 2010, 03:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 203
London/Paris Trip with 2 children & Jet Lag

Would appreciate any JET LAG tips for children (ages 7 & 5) . ..what worked and didn't work on your travels. Trip begins from USA/central time, possibly in late May.
Adults are seasoned travelers and are aware of how travel affects them! Thanks!
Nottingham is offline  
Jan 30th, 2010, 04:23 PM
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What time are your flights?
BKP is offline  
Jan 30th, 2010, 04:35 PM
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The best, but maybe not the easiest, is to go to bed earlier and get up earlier...as you get closer to trip, more and more early. On plane, no caffeine, no alcohol. Sleep, no videos. WHen you land, no naps, full day. By day 2, you will feel better
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:02 PM
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We live in the eastern time zone so overseas flights usually leave in the early evening and arrive in the morning sometime. That means we have a 6-8 hour flight max. I can never sleep, and everyone else may get 3-4 hours if lucky.

The best method for us is a full but very leisurely first day. By 5 pm everyone is dead, but we eat, hang out in the hotel room, and wait to go to sleep until about 8 pm. Normally we will sleep 12 hours that night. The next day three of us will be fine. My daughter really feels every hour change. She takes a few days to catch up.

My kids are 12 & 10 now, but yours will very likely fall asleep wherever they may be at around 3-5 pm.
poutine is offline  
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:08 PM
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When we travelled from Australia to Paris with our two kids aged 12 and 9, the flight was around 25 hours, leaving in the afternoon. As the flight arrived at 7am in the morning, we had hoped to try and stay awake until early evening. However, we ended up back at our apartment (after shopping at the local market) at 2pm and our son (who did not sleep at all on the flight) fell asleep and slept 17 hours straight but woke feeling fine, just in time for breakfast. Our daughter slept a bit on the flight and didn't really have too many problems. After that the only problem we found was that by early evening after a day's sightseeing, the kids were tired and just wanted dinner at home and an early night. That lasted for about 5 days. We didn't find any problems with them waking in the middle of the night.

There are no magic answers. If you can arrange it, trying to stay awake until a normal bed time usually works best. Make sure they drink plenty of water on the flight and keep them amused with the inflight entertainment, books, drawing, card games. A window seat is useful to lean up against the wall. All obvious stuff really.
dreamon is offline  
Jan 30th, 2010, 06:03 PM
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What worked for us is a nap - I know there are strong opinions against it - but both times we have flown to the UK from the east coast (one to Manchester, once to Edinburgh) we got to our first night's destination in a couple of hours and all took a nap. Then it was up for lunch, some leisurely sight-seeing in the afternoon, including some play time in the closest park, and dinner and bedtime at as close to "local" time as possible. The kids were 8 and 3 the first time, 10 and 5 the second, I think. I think a little outdoor play time is very helpful.

On the first trip we spent the first couple of nights in a B&B with a "family room" where the kids had a little space all to themselves, with bunks and a TV, if I remember correctly, so we gave them strict instructions not to wake us up if they woke up before we did (and they actually listened). That way my husband and I could get a full night's sleep, which in turn made it easier to deal with them throughout the day! On the second trip we spent that first night with friends, so we could again get a full night's sleep ourselves and not worry about the kids waking up before we did.

We found the kids adjusted very quickly after that. I hope yours will too!
Barbara_in_FL is offline  
Jan 30th, 2010, 06:27 PM
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We haven't done it with children, but the last four or five trips we have taken from the west coast to Europe--we left in the afternoon, slept a few hours on the plane, and then landed in the morning the next day in Europe. Every single time we checked into our apartment and/or hotel and then took a nap. Usually an hour or two --not more than that, but definitely a nice nap. They we got up and got going for the remainder of the day and stayed up until about 9:00. Went to bed and slept all night before getting up and hit the ground running. Never had much of any problem with jet lag that way--of course, coming home is always more challenging! Hope that helps...
kattom is offline  
Jan 30th, 2010, 06:42 PM
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Flight would be leaving in late afternoon...arriving next morning.
Will be staying with friends, so no worry about a hotel check-in time.
I agree that a nap might be a good idea for the children...maybe for adults too!
I know the opinions are against this...but at least the children should nap(????)
There would be no tight agenda....relax and not push the children on a sightseeing marathon.
Barbara_in_FL....your tips sound just right...thank you.
Nottingham is offline  
Jan 30th, 2010, 06:44 PM
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We always take a nap and think we have nearly beaten jet lag. First we time shift three to four hours during the prior two/three weeks. On the day of departure we get up at the same time we expect to land in Europe which is generally 2AM or 3 AM. Whole day runs on the European time schedule -- meals etc. Arrive at airport very early, have a large evening meal with wine about four hours or so prior to departure. Thirty minutes after wheels up, we are settled in, eye on, ear plugs, ignor all service, and generally asleep because we are pretty tired by that time. An hour or two prior to landing, freshen up, have whatever is being offered. Most of the time we land early to mid morning. Around 3 pm local time will take a max nap of 2 hours with an alarm clock. We feel we are recharged by the nap, have a nice evening, and generally go to bed around 10/11 pm. And the next day we are fine. We found our two sons adjusted well to this pattern when they were younger.
fmpden is offline  
Jan 30th, 2010, 06:46 PM
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OUr kids were a little older - 9 & 11 - the first time we took them. We did the following:

Got up at 4:00 am for breakfast, day of flight
Lunch a little later
Dinner at 2 or 3
Pretty much a normal day except for the packing (it was summer, so no school).

Head to the airport for early evening flight (out only choice - later on we were able to get 10 or 11 pm flights, worked MUCH better).

On the flight over I gave OTC meds to the kids that they had used before and which I was fully comfortable giving to them - Dramamine (regular, NOT the non-drowsy) to my daughter and Benadryl to my son. We did NOT eat the dinner on the plane and the kids were instructed to go to sleep after about 45 minutes with eye covers, blankets, headphones. BUT - the most important thing was they were NOT to wake their dad or me except in dire emergency. My daughter went to sleep pretty quickly, son played video games for at least another hour till I woke up and took things away from him. Then he went to sleep too. We all got at least a few hours sleep.

Wake up for plane breakfast. Hit the ground running, moving as much as possible that first day. Early dinner, sleep. Should mention though, on various trips the first day would include Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, Seine Boat Ride, 1-2 hour car drive - and they did nap for a short bit on any/all of these.

Again, the most important thing was to stress that when we finally went to bed that they were not to wake us (the adults) up - probably with your kids ages they would also be able to follow these rules. My kids had music and books (quiet things) to keep them busy if they woke up when we were still asleep. We also took them back to the hotel at least every other day for ALL of us to have a "rest" - either nap or just quiet down time (again with books, music - no TV). They were fine.

Have fun!It was wonderful.
AtlTravelr is offline  
Jan 30th, 2010, 08:47 PM
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Jet lag didn't bother my 6 yr old granddaughter at all. She slept for a few hours on the plane, and I think excitement got her through the first day in Paris. We, contrary to most people, find that we do better with a short nap early afternoon after arriving, and when she woke up from that, she was good to go until we went to bed that evening.

Happy travels!
grandmere is offline  
Jan 31st, 2010, 01:28 AM
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I'm not trying to be picky, but "jet lag" is really not what happens when people fly across the Atlantic from America. What really happens is that you lose a night's sleep (like I just did!)

So what happens to your kids when they lose a night's sleep? Has it happened before? I'm a big believer in naps to catch up (which I should be doing instead of posting right now, but I can't sleep!)
primeranoche is offline  
Jan 31st, 2010, 07:21 AM
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Losing a nights sleep has nothing to do it. It is your internal biological clock that does not match the local time clock. Until that is reset by itself, you will be awake when others are asleep.

But isn't it interesting that conventional wisdom says not to take naps the first day but gut it out. Yet, a number of posters, self included, find that a short, afternoon nap is critical to making a quick adjustment. Maybe conventional wisdom is actually wrong.
fmpden is offline  
Jan 31st, 2010, 07:36 AM
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fmpden, you are right about biological clock. I find that I can zone out on the plane, pseudo-sleep. But I found if I took a hotel nap I woke up with a headache, so I go out, get lots of sun...and rock the second day. Oh, avoid buses,trains, and sitting in church pew first day
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 31st, 2010, 07:52 AM
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Seems to me that what we feel after arriving is a combination of losing a night's sleep--and jet lag (biological clock issue). I loosely use the term "jet lag" to refer to the whole shebang.
grandmere is offline  
Jan 31st, 2010, 08:21 AM
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We live on the West Coast and went two years ago to Paris and then throughout Italy with our kids, aged 8 & 10 at the time. For about three weeks prior to the trip, we tried to go to bed 10 minutes earlier each evening, get up earlier each morning, even if we just sat around when we got up, lol!

Our flight left around lunch and arrived the next day in the a.m. We slept what we could on the plane, and then after stashing our luggage at the apartment, spent the day wandering Paris. It was a beautiful day and we just strolled the whole day, then picked up groceries and headed to the apt for dinner. We wouldn't let anyone sleep until 8 p.m.

The next morning, we all woke up before the sun, but were refreshed and ready to go. Each day for several days we stayed up a little later and slept a little longer till we were on a more "normal" schedule, but felt no ill-effects at all.

HOWEVER, one thing no one had mentioned to us and everyone I know from the West Coast seems to suffer from, is jet-lag or whatever you want to call it when you get HOME from the trip. It took several WEEKS to feel normal then. I know some is the post-trip depression, but I think also since many West Coast flights land late at night, you head straight to bed (we got home at 10 p.m.), thinking you are back on regular time, but you really aren't. Anyways, just be prepared that the worst part may happen after the trip.

Have a fantastic trip - travelling with the kids is awesome!
amamax2 is offline  
Jan 31st, 2010, 04:21 PM
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For us, adults and teenagers, a nap seems to work. But not too long. Our flights from the East Coast, as noted above, leave in the evening and arrive mid to late morning. If possible we check in after clearing the airport but that often is not possible. So we nap from 3 or 4 until about 6, take a shower, then go out.

Even at that we're bushed by 10 (adults, that is) and still sleep 12 hours. But that's it.

Can relate to the 17 hour sleeper - happens at home, too!
LikeLivingThere is offline  
Jan 31st, 2010, 04:50 PM
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I agree with Anamax. In my experience, it's much worse coming home, mainly because it's hard to sleep flying west -- it's always light!
ksbeem is offline  
Jan 31st, 2010, 05:06 PM
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recently travelling to Spain with my huband (both of us 42), grandma 83 and 2 kids 4 and 6 .. a nap, just 2 hours at the hotel in the morning (and a SHOWER) .. did wonders .. got us on a great Europen schedule .. keep it light and easy the first 2 days.
alexislovesspain is offline  

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