Honestly, not much.
This whole jet lag thing has never really been a problem for me or Doc Sci. Do our boys cope well by association? That’d be nice, but I doubt it. Just because it doesn’t seem to be an issue doesn’t mean no effort is involved. But don’t be discouraged. While it might take some effort, I can sum up my ritual in two steps.
Don’t look back, and stick to your routine.
I used to plan trips with a group of pilots who, when planning a route, would always talk about “body clock time.” As in, “well, if it’s 9am in Vienna, it’s really 3am body clock time.” I loved working with them, but I don’t think we could be tourists together. If I know it’s 3am, then all I will think about is sleep.
I totally understand that these are the dudes flying the plane and you don’t want them sleep deprived, but always thinking about what time it is at home is going to do nothing but absolutely mess you up. For days.
Once you reach your destination (as in the plane touches its wheels down to the runway), listen to those peppy flight attendants and set your watch immediately to local time. Don’t look back.
The next and equally as important component of this plan is to stick to your routine (as much as possible). If you arrive at 6am from an overnight flight, get to your hotel, eat breakfast, walk around, eat lunch, then take only one short nap (2 hours can be considered short in this instance). Any more than that and you’re going to be blowing your budget on a 3am room service breakfast.
But what about with kids? The same thing goes. When we traveled to Ireland and T-Rex was only 18 months old, we followed the plan. Arrive, collect luggage, rent car, drive to hotel, check in, find lunch, take nap, get up and get going. Bedtime can be early but think 10 year-old early for the adults, and 10 month-old early for the kiddos.
Be flexible with times, but follow the order of the routine. Breakfast, sightseeing, lunch, nap, sightseeing, dinner, bath, story time, bed. Bring familiar toys, blankets, pillows, etc., from their bed or a favorite book to make things more “at home.”
I even do this on the airplane. If the night flight departs late enough, I put the boys in pajamas and do their bedtime routine (sans bath) either before we board or after the meal is served.
Above all, keep your expectations low. Hiccups do happen. Both boys woke up, Screech on the first night and T-Rex on the second night, at about 230am wondering where in tarnation am I and is my mama around? A few hugs and kisses and they were back to snoring (and then I couldn’t sleep!).
This jet lag routine has served me well for over 12 years; it’s just what works for me. However, I know that other people have more tricks up their sleeves. So, what works for you when it comes to fighting jet lag?