View Full Version : Jet lag with a toddler?
03-08-2004, 03:11 PM
We will be traveling to France next month and I'm wondering if anyone has any tips on helping my son adjust to the time change. He is 21 months - I'm worried he won't adjust at all and we will wind up staying up all night and sleeping all day! It's a 9 hour time difference for us.
Thanks in advance! I really need to stop thinking about this so much since there's probably not much I can do until we get there...
Mama to Jack, 6/4/02
03-09-2004, 06:38 PM
Hi, we have made two trips to Europe with my toddler, one when she was 16 months and another when she was 18 months. On all occasions, particular the first trip, she had little problem sleeping and eating regularly during the day, but a lot of trouble sleeping at night. Just screamed instead of sleeping. It got better after about 3 days. We couldn't think of anything to do to make it better, so everyone just suffered on those initial long nights.
Two hints I can offer you are 1) consider where you will be staying your first two nights or so. You might prefer a bigger, more expensive hotel where you feel there is better sound-proofing or better anonymity than a small, family-run hotel, where you may fear disturbing everyone with your child's crying.
Second, don't feel guilty if you resort to cough syrup on the plane to make your child drowsy. After suffering through a noisy child and a planeload of irritated passengers, I gave her children's allergy and cold formula and it knocked her out. They turn the lights off on overseas flights and people are trying to sleep, so passengers were not as accomodating of a noisy child as on domestic flights. Check with your doctor, of course, but know that many parents resort to this option.
Oh, and here's a third tip that may get you more seating room on the plane. Call your airline and ask what the seating configuration is for your airplane, then request seats that leave one empty seat in the middle of your party. For example, if the middle row is three seats, and you didn't buy a seat for your child, reserve the two aisle seats of the middle row. There's a good chance that single seat in the middle will remain empty, and you may end up with lots of extra room for your toddler. If it ends up reserved, any sane person will switch seats with you rather than be in the middle of a family traveling with young kids.
03-10-2004, 10:28 PM
I wish I could help you, but I mainly want to sympathize.
Since we live in Okinawa and visit family in Texas we go through this about twice a year. Okinawa and Texas are 14 hours apart so we are pretty much opposite. No matter what we've done we ALL suffer for the first three to five days. Like the previous poster said - daytime isn't too bad (just make sure that Jack doesn't overnap), but nights are tough.
Noelle doesn't scream at night, though she would be a bit disoriented each time she woke. DH and I took turns getting up with her (usually whomever puts her to bed gets up with her that night). The first night when it was time for bed she said, "Okay, ready to go." (as in lets go home!)
We give Noelle night-time cold medication on the plane(as approved by our pediatrician), but keep in mind that some kids get hyped up on medication, not sedated.
How long will you be in France? That will make a big difference as to your enjoyment of your trip.
Jen in Okinawa
Mom to Noelle (2 1/3)
03-12-2004, 04:06 PM
Thanks for the suggestions and sympathy! We will be in France for two weeks. I'm sure things will be fine in the end, but unfortunately the first week we will be with friends (and their kids) who've not seen Jack in ages and I'd love for him to be on his usual sunny behavior, not all tired and cranky. Oh well! I'm sure they'll understand. I guess I should try the cough syrup thing at least once before we go to make sure it doesn't amp him up!
Mama to Jack, 6/4/02
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