Before we first did a long flight with our son, I was worried about two things – how Ren will manage to stay sit in my lap during the long flight and how he will be affected from the time difference, especially as we only had one week in New York City to spend.
Not getting enough sleep on the plane can be a good thing
Before the flights were booked I wanted to make both of them during the evening/night, what was actually a really good decision. Even though he normally goes to sleep at 8pm, the flight to New York was so interesting to him, he barely got any sleep. He was also wide awake during all the custom checks when arriving at JFK International airport, for which Simon and I hopped, he will be sleeping until morning local time.
We reached hotel at 1:30 am and luckily Ren did fall asleep on the subway already. As soon as we came to our room, we hit the bed too. To our surprise, Ren was so tired, he managed to sleep all night and was awake at 7 am New York time. Perfect to start our day normally.
Two day naps instead of one
Ren had few problems for the first two days, but nothing major thought. Instead of one nap during the day, he took two, but nevertheless he still managed to fall asleep at 8pm every evening.
We also had a flight from New York City back to Europe in the evening. We took off at 10pm, but before that Ren still had loads of energy, running around at the airport, watching all the planes from the window. Honestly, that was exactly what I wanted, as I hopped he will later be so tired, to sleep the entire flight from New York City to Paris. I was right – he already fallen asleep in my arms before we took off and slept all the way to Paris, where we changed flights to Slovenia, Ljubljana – that’s where we are home.
Waking up in the middle of the night
When home, Ren went to sleep at 8pm local time again, but he was wide awake at 2 in the morning for an hour for two nights in a row. Nevertheless, we just read him a book, to calm him down. Luckily we had Saturday and Sunday to adjust to the time difference and it was ideal. He started kindergarten again on Monday and got his normal routine back.
I must admit I did prepare myself for the worst, but at the end everything ran smoothly and without any bigger problems. Luckily we did not wake up in the middle of the night in New York City and waiting for the morning in a hotel room. But each child is different and unique, so if something worked on our son, it does not mean it will work on your child too. Maybe when he gets older, we will have a totally different story to tell, but so far, so good.
Even though the time difference could be more challenging, don’t let this scares you away from traveling with kids. After all, with or without the time difference – at the end of the day, full with explorations, you will be tired anyway. But for such memories and unforgettable experiences is definitely worth a day or two being a bit sleepless.