Even experienced travelers can be caught unawares by the way jet lag affects young children. Know what to expect when taking your child overseas for the first time.

SALT LAKE CITY - When you've traveled a lot, it's easy to think you've conquered jet lag. After several trips overseas, your body gets used to the transitions and you learn how to make the fastest shift to your new time zone. But the whole game changes when you take a kid along. Traveling with a baby with jetlag is a totally different experience than "jet-lagging" on your own. Adults with jet lag usually drag through a few upside-down days and nights and quickly land on their feet again. But there is nothing to compare with arriving in Europe at what your brain knows as 1:00 a.m. and spending a hazy day faking through the sights and an early dinner to finally crash in your hotel room - only to spend the next nine hours dealing with a toddler who thinks it's noon. The sleep deprivation adds up quickly, and it's crucial to help kids acclimate as quickly as possible. While adults often manage jet lag with medications or caffeine, children respond better to natural, environmental solutions. Jet lag is more than just lack of sleep - it is your body reacting to the change in its circadian rhythm, the natural daily cycle of temperature, hormone levels and energy consumption sometimes referred to as your "biological clock." Getting out in bright sunlight during the day and eating meals "on time" in the new time zone can help to reset your child's clock. Try to recreate your normal schedule for naps, eating and bedtime as closely as possible in the new time zone. This will help your child's body recognize familiar patterns and shift its cycle accordingly. Knowing how jet lag affects parents differently is important for another reason. Being overtired doesn't only make you irritable and impatient. It can also cloud your judgment and seriously impair your decision-making skills. You lose your common sense and minor sidetracks can turn into major derailments. When my husband and I were touring the hill towns of Andalusia with our then six-month-old son, a few days of baby jet lag was all it took for us to lose our usual travel-savvy skills. After wasting an entire day trying to follow a terrible map of the area, we finally discovered the map was several years old and wildly inaccurate. But we didn't buy a new one. We didn't even consider it. Instead, we kept using our outdated map, which was missing two major freeways, for the rest of the trip. This meant we spent several hours each day wandering the tiny back roads of rural Spain trying to get our bearings. It took nearly a week before we were recovered enough to realize that this was insanity. This is what baby jet lag does to you. This is why some of our best advice for first-time family travelers is to schedule regular logic checks at the beginning of your trip. Twice a day, take a moment and review your choices for obvious bad judgment. Are there holes in your thinking? Are you causing yourselves needless headaches by making dumb decisions? By day three or four, your kids' brains should have sorted out day and night, and you can start to place more trust in your common sense. But anticipating the effects of baby jet lag can be a trip saver. Consciously checking for bad decisions can save you a lot of headaches and maybe even a few tanks of gas.%3Cimg%20src%3D%22http%3A//beacon.deseretconnect.com/beacon.gif%3Fcid%3D138750%26pid%3D46%22%20/%3E