A reality hit me at about 3 am during our first night in the US – a lot is written about the pains and perils of traveling on long-haul plane rides with young kids, but not a great deal of consideration seems to go into the true pain of it all… dealing with jet lagged children when you yourself have jet lag.

The truth of it is this: traveling on planes with kids is comparatively straightforward when the comparison is caring for kids in the first days of arrival at a new destination. Of course they (and you) get bored on the plane, their behaviour can be challenging in the extreme, and as a parent, you often feel 300 sets of eyes judging you and your parental inadequacies.  However, the pain of dealing with jet lag is altogether a different animal. Think of it as though they are softening you up on the flight for the true torture to follow – they sleep deprive you enough that when you get to your destination all you want to do is curl up and go to sleep for 18 hours or so. But this is where the torture starts – you can guarantee that as soon as your head hits the pillow, they will be awake with body clocks firmly set on wake up time and no amount of soothing is going to convince them that the darkness outside really means it’s night time.

Having slept for 2 hours in 24 hours of traveling, I have managed 4 hours sleep a night for the next two nights. Adjusting to new time zones really is, in my opinion, the toughest thing about air travel. They say you adjust to about one and a half timezones per day in your new destination. Well we travelled across 10 timezones in 24 hours, which means we can expect about a week of disrupted sleep and general crabbiness around the place.  Scarlett, our one year old, always insists on being the exception to the rule of course, and slept for 14 hours last night. Hopefully this means that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Here’s to more sleep tonight…

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