Accompanying Kids through Jet Lag

Accompanying kids through jet lag is at best a thankless task and more often a screaming crying power struggle.  In addition to the general sleep deprivation of the family, now you also factor in the reality that the children do not understand why their bodies want to do the opposite of what their parents so lovingly suggest.

For me the most frustrating part of jet lag is the vicious circle that one person’s restlessness disrupts another’s sleep and so on… leaving you feeling like there will be no end to the madness.  Apart from recruiting a sitter who can nanny through the night 😉 I have come to the conclusion that embracing the inevitable sleep interruptions allows me to foster more fruit of the Spirit in my life: peace, patience and gentleness.

I take turns with my hubby being on call every other night to accompany our chid through jet lag that way there is at least one grown-up that’s fresh in the morning.

I sleep as much as possible until my toddler wakes up.  At that point I enter accompany mode.  Rather than enter into their chaos, my job is to accompany them from chaos to peace.  In order to do that I put aside all of my carnal wishes, I take a step back and I analyze the situation.

Have a plan.  My first tactic is always to whisper, “shh, keep sleeping.”  If she says she’s hungry I respond with, “It’s not time to eat, but you can take a drink of water.” But when Cupcake proves to be wide awake I take the lead proposing a blanket fort on the bed and reading by flashlight. Something calm, quiet, and dim so that her internal clock takes notes and makes necessary changes as it decides what time of the day to produce each neurotransmitter.

Remember that no matter what you do, it’s a matter of time passing before the production of neurotransmitters catches up with the airplane ride.  The kids can’t help it that their brains are firing chemicals at the wrong times of the day and night.  It seams that exposure to light and darkness is the best way to communicate the time of day to the sleep center of the brain.  Some people find that eating certain foods or taking supplements helps trigger the adaptation a little faster, but results vary.

Become a sleep expert.  By studying the latest trends you can reassure yourself that you aren’t doing something intentional to hold back the process.http://www.howsleepworks.com/how_neurological.html

Shower them with love.  Jet lag is temporary, your child’s love is forever.  Reassure them that your love is unconditional and God has a special plan for their life. 😘

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