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Long-haul time difference: worth destroying sleep routine for the caribbean?

11 replies

rubyone · 09/08/2004 21:44

I'm desperate to go to the caribbean this winter but anxious that my now fairly good sleeper of a son will revert to his nightmare pattern of sleep due to the 5 hours time difference.

Has anyone any advice how to cope and whether it is really worth risking the hard-won success of getting said son to sleep through the night (only took about a year) for a two week holiday.

He sleeps okay when we've been to Europe but there's been only an hour's time difference.

Any advice would be extremely helpful.

I really want to go!!

THANKS!

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Galaxy · 09/08/2004 21:53

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Hulababy · 09/08/2004 21:58

How old is you DS?

We are taking 2y 4m old DD to Florida (same time difference) to Florida this week and I have wondered if it'll mess her sleep up completely. We did controlled crying at Christmas to get her on track and she has been great since. It isn't the time difference I am concerned about but the huge change to routine at night - they'll be less channce for naps and later night. BUT to us the holiday is worth it.

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CountessDracula · 09/08/2004 22:12

I can vouch for leaving them at HOME!

dd is nearly two and have done Grenada and Tobago without her for a week each time. Does you the world of good.

If not, we were in Castara in Tobago in Jan and you can get a nanny on the beach for about $1 an hour. So you could keep your ds in his sleep pattern with the use of one. They are magnificent, have had at least 1o0000 kids of their own and just know what to do according to the harassed parents of 5 month old who were telling us about this!

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miggy · 09/08/2004 22:28

We took dd to hawaii for 5days when she was 11months. Enormous time diff and the problem was more when we were there, she would wake up at 3am every morning-ready for the day! options in a hotel room are very limited between 3am and 7am and boy did that time lag!

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Tartegnin · 10/08/2004 08:46

We travel to the US a couple of times a year with our DD (now five). If you can deal with a shifted sleep pattern, it works no problem. You will ALL be tired by early evening, so if you don't mind turning in early, you do get a lovely early start to the day. Even with a 4 am wake up, you're ok if you're prepared for it - we bring videos to watch (make sure the hotel has a video/DVD player in the room and that it will play UK systems - or that they have a children's channel like Nick Jr.) We all snuggle in bed and lounge in our PJs and plan the day. We bring snacks and buy some there to have picnic breakfasts when we wake up (and stock the hotel fridge with milk etc) You can usually get some room service by 6 am (COFFEE!) and you're awake for beautiful sunrises. You can be the first down to breakfast (if you haven't snacked and room serviced to your heart's content) and enjoy empty beaches and pools for an hour at least. If your DS will go to bed a lot earlier than you want to, it's a lovely chance to enjoy a romantic dinner from room service on your hotel terrace (if you have one) while he has already gone to bed, or to get a babysitter in for a few hours while you go out. It gets dark pretty early in the Caribbean in winter, so you won't be missing much sunshine with the time difference. It all depends on your attitutde and expectations. In our, experience, the time difference doesn't disrupt DD's ability to sleep a normal ten hours, so much as the time to bed and awake is shifted over accordingly. You will all slowly adjust to the time difference, anyway. I would say the bigger nightmare is all getting back to UK time when you return!

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albert · 10/08/2004 09:18

We flew to Brazil from Denmark when DS was 2 years old. Flight left about 6pm and arrived late lunch time in Brazil from which point we carried on as normal and DS went to bed about 7.30 and slept for 12 hours. The next day he fell asleep at 4.30pm and woke up the next morning at 9.00 and then everything was fine. I would say 'go for it'

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rubyone · 10/08/2004 23:27

Many thanks for all your advice. I've been worrying away at it and still can't decide. It would be hell to break the routine we suffered so much to establish! Just for a holiday. I think I might chicken out and opt for the Canaries instead....

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Chandra · 10/08/2004 23:59

Don't worry, it's not that difficult, the trick is to wake up the child at the usual hour one day after arriving. I have travelled with DS to Mexico and there was not a problem I just forget about routines as it was not practical with so many airport changes, he was knackered when we arrived (9pm local time 4 am England's time). I didn't mind in trying to keep him awake when all family was waiting to meet him and he spend a good two hours awake. Next day I woke him up at 7 local time and followed his regular routine, was a bit moody during the day but perfectly fine the days afterwards. Coming back he totally refuse to sleep in the plane, spent a good time crawling around the aisles and only naped shortly. He fell asleep at 8 am and I let him sleep until his regular midday nap time and keep him awake afterwards. He went to his regular routine a day after.

PS He was 11m at the time of the trip.

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Chandra · 11/08/2004 00:10

PS. there's a thread on travel with very useful advice for a long haul flight, you can find it here

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rubyone · 11/08/2004 09:56

Thanks Chandra that was very interesting. My problem is that my son has never slept from 7-7 even as a baby or one year old and certainly not now. He gets up EARLY every morning and we put him down at 8pm - so get 9 or 10 hours at most. He was a hideously terrible sleeper for a very long time (finally conquered at around 19 months through much sleep training and endless dawn wake-ups). My husband is more resistant than I am as I would risk it. I shall have to think about it again and try to persuade hubbie.

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CountessDracula · 11/08/2004 10:06

The other option of course is to keep him on his timescale - if you're in a hotel there won't be anything to do in the evening anyway unless you hire a babysitter, so why not just go to bed early and get up early? It's only 5 hours difference or is it 4? So you could get up at 4am say and then go to bed at 7 or 8pm, would mean you could all have dinner together early every evening and you would get to see the beautiful sunrise every day!

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