Do you remember the days before kids when "fall back" daylight savings was a wonderful gift of an extra hour of time? You could use it to sleep longer, stay up later, or really however you liked!
Boy how things change when there are little ones involved. When your child who normally wakes at 7am is now up and ready for the day at 6am we cannot say, "it's only 6, go back to sleep!" It feels like 7 to them. It's light outside like it usually is at 7. Their bodies are telling them - it's time to get up!
So how do we handle this time change??
My advice is to “split the difference" for a few days.
Start by leaving the clocks alone on Saturday night so it’s not a psychologically upsetting event to see your little one up an hour earlier the next morning. Just get up at your usual time and start the day. (Try to ignore the time on your cell phone). After your cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast, then go around changing the clocks. It will feel much better this way, trust me!
Now let's talk about navigating the adjustment. If, for example, your little one usually takes a morning nap around 9:30, you will adjust this to 9:00 for the three days after the time change. It will be a bit of a push for your child (a 9am nap will feel like a 10am nap), but not so much that it will cause much damage to her schedule. Do the same for the afternoon nap.
For bedtime, let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7pm. I recommend putting that child to bed at 6:30pm for the first three days following the time change. (This will FEEL like 7:30 to your child). On day 4, put them to bed at their regular 7pm bedtime. It will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this. It takes everybody’s body roughly one week to adjust any kind of change in sleeping habits.
Daylight Savings Tips:
Over 2 years: If you have children over the age of two who use some type of clock to tell them when they can wake up, only move the time back 30 mins. So when it's 6:30am their clock will say 7am. Let them get up a bit earlier for a few days, knowing that their bodies should adjust to the new time by the end of the week (when you can re-adjust their clock to the correct time).
Under 2 years: If you are dealing with a baby, do not rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up in the morning. You do not want to send a message that getting up at 6am is okay now. So if she normally wakes at 7:00, but is now up at 6:00, wait till ten minutes before you go in to get her. The next day wait until 6:20, on the third day wait until 6:30 and by the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual hour.
The best thing to keep in mind is that a time change is an adjustment for everyone. Kids on a regular schedule will struggle a bit, but give them about a week to adjust and you will be back on track! Good luck!
Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash