I'm flying to Europe with my family this spring, which is my wife and I and two children (will be 2 and almost 4). We're flying Lufthansa, with flights like so:
To Europe: 9:30pm (UTC-6) -> 2:30pm (UTC+1) transatlantic, stopover, hop 5:00pm->5:30pm to final destination
(stay 1 week)
From Europe: 8:00am -> 8:30am (UTC+1) hop, then 10:00am (UTC+1) -> 12:00pm (UTC-6) transatlantic.
Our children are moderate to poor sleepers, but on domestic flights have done okay with sleeping during 'night' times. Should we attempt to alter their sleep schedule so that they sleep in a different time than normal (such as a bit later or earlier), or allow them to sleep the first part of the (to Europe) transatlantic flight as they normally would? And for the return flight, which is on a saturday (so we have a day of rest before going back to preschool/etc.), same - should they sleep as normal the night before, or should we try to get them to bed 'late' (which is very easy for us) so to be closer to a US sleep schedule (and sleep part of the flight?)
We're partially concerned not only about sleep schedule and timezone adjustment, but sleeping on the plane itself - they're at a difficult age for long flights, and 10 hours on the plane seems difficult. They're both boys, and both very very active, so they'll want to move around a lot. Is that a problem (this is on an A-340, and probably a middle row given there are 4 of us)? On domestic flights moving around isn't usually encouraged (even long-ish 3-4 hour ones) from our past experience.
For ourselves we'll probably try to skimp on sleep on the flight there, so to be in a closer to European pattern when we arrive.