The above title is what I put into my google search and got a whole lotta nothing. Either I need to get better with my search engine skills or someone needs to write the truth about jetlag and small kids.
This post is to all the people who know what REAL jet lag is. I am not talking daylight savings or LA to NYC jet lag. I am talking the other side of the world where the sun doesn't shine.
So, you have to travel to the other side of the world? My first advice would be to not take the kids. Children are not made to go from day to night and night to day in 24 hours. They are scheduled beings that respond to consistency and the sun rising and setting around the same time every day. I realize, myself included, that leaving your dependents is usually not an option so here is the facts that you have to face.
You children will cry, a lot. They will be crabby. We have been home now for four days and our children are still a wreck (15 hour time difference). There have been many tears, tantrums. Just expect it.
Do NOT attempt to overcome jet lag for yourself. Since you will be getting up in the middle of the night every day (night), don't even bother to get over jetlag. Treat the jetlag child like a new born and sleep when they sleep. It is okay to be envious the other parent who has to go to work and has to get over jetlag and sleeps more than 4 hour stretches.
You have two choices to get the kids onto your time zone: more sleep or less sleep. I like the idea of more sleep but in practice with kids under 2 this is not an option. I have heard of friends who give their kids benedryl until they are on schedule. Benedryl doesn't work on my toddler and sorta creeps me out, so for her health, I am having her go the sleep deprivation cycle.
With the sleep deprivation cycle your child will wake up the middle of the night. Instead of freaking out and forcing them to be a normal human and go back to sleep, just get up with the kid, give them some food, and let them play. For me this has been my morning every day at 2 or 3 am.
The trick is from this point on, to keep them up. Allow a nap around 11 or 12 and let them sleep 2-3 hour MAX. Wake them up (usually a bath helps get them out of the serious grog). They will be grouchy.
Be sure they eat a dinner because often they wake up at 2 because they are hungry.
Keep them up until 7 or 8 and then put to bed.
So to all the parents out there who feel like they are in a sleep deprivation torture program, my heart goes out to you. Good luck.