How to Deal with a Jet Lagged Toddler

Or Not the many concerns my wife and I had for this year long tour of South America, how to deal with a jet lagged toddler was not one of them.

Perhaps that makes us something of bad parents but, in our defence, we had our hands full with a plethora of other, more pressing concerns. How to ensure our little princess’ sleep pattern remained undisturbed on the other side of the world just didn’t make the list.

Not by a long shot, actually.

So it comes as no surprise that nearly one week under our belts, bed time for Kaia appears to be anywhere from 9:30 to midnight and with more than her fair share of wee morning hour awakenings. Which has all led to some rather late morning starts (ie. 11 am breakfast) these past many mornings…and sudden late afternoon, early evening power naps.

Apparently, from what I’ve since discovered, there’s a lot we could’ve done differently.

Anything and everything from:

Changing our watches from the moment we arrived…

Resisting the urge to crash in our room immediately after arriving and going for a walk in the afternoon sunlight which is supposedly proven to help regulate your body clock back into something resembling normality…

Not allowing Kaia unscheduled naps on the days immediately following our arrival…

Booking accommodation that allows for a separate sleeping area for Kaia…

Pushing back bed times an hour or two for a couple days following our arrival…and more.

Including even considering re-routing our flight since apparently flying west to east is tougher on the body since many studies show dealing with a shorter day is tougher to deal with than a longer one.

But that, you see, all just sounds like way too much work (and probably a bit too much money).

And work was something my wife and I wanted to try to avoid as much as possible during this year away from home. Juggling two jobs all while choreographing day care two or three times a week with one car between us over the past two years took on a two-ships-passing-in-the-night sort of toll.

Just how much so, would become abundantly clear as the three of us cuddled together in a dreamy mid-day, jet lagged haze in our humble but sufficient AirBnB apartment of a total stranger. A bright, noisy day was well and truly hitting its mid-day stride and I had not the inclination nor the energy to join the fray.

The fact was, there on the fringes of a downtown Santiago that beckoned to be explored (EVENTUALLY), we had nowhere to be. A fact made even more accommodating once we soon learned, it didn’t get dark until close to 9pm. For the first time in close to 3 years we had plenty of time at our disposal. For that particular day and, if all goes to plan, for quite a few subsequent ones as well.

Such is the beauty of a plan that involves having no plan at all; which, if you think about it, is as practical a defence against jet lag as there is.

Jet lag which, from where I am lying semi-conscious beside my wife and daughter, suddenly, never looked so good.


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