April 14, 2008

Reader Question: Time Zone Changes for Babies / Infants

Mary from the U.S. sent us the following question regarding time zone changes:

How do you/ does she cope with the time zone changes? We had only a 2-hour time difference and it was brutal. Our daughter never really settled into the new time zone- until the last night - and now that we are home her clock is all out of whack again! Any suggestions form your experience? Thanks!

For me, I have found that my one year old does pretty well with the time changes. She is so exhausted from our trips that usually I just let her stay up until she is tired that first night (sometimes she is tired early and sometimes she is wired so she stays up later- (that depends on what the time change is) and then she sleeps (hopefully) at night. I think that it is harder for me because I actually know what time it is and what time I think it should be. On our last trip, she did wake up at 5am the first few days but I just kept it dark and quiet and tried to keep it low key. That wasn't easy but I guess after the lack of sleep from pregnancy and her first year it didn't bother me too much and after three days she was into enough of a routine. I did not try to force the normal times for bed on her but I did follow the same routine when she was ready for bed. But this is just my experience so I went online to do a little more research and I can't say that I found anything earth shattering about helping babies / kids adjust to time changes. Some websites suggest to start adjusting the child's schedule a few days before they leave- i.e. if you are going back two hours, start putting them to bed a little later each night. This may work but it won't make a big difference if your time change is significant- say 5 or 6 hours. What I read the most and what I agree with the most- is that you just need to keep your children as hydrated and feed as necessary- pay attention to their moods- and do your same routine at bed time, whenever that is. And most say that it's the parents that have the hardest time- and I agree with that.

I would love to hear feedback from other parents who have been through time changes to learn what worked, what didn't and what you agree and don't agree with- so send it our way: babyjetsetter@gmail.com

Thanks for the question, Mary, and I hope that your daughter is back to sleeping her normal shedule.

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