I think I told you when daylight savings started, that it confuses the crap about of me. But one thing is for sure…about this time every year I get a flurry of emails and calls with mothers who are stressing out about the end of daylight savings. What does this mean for their toddler? Will they wake up even earlier? What do they do? Can they do something to prevent it? Emails of sheer desperation really…
So the way I see it there are 2 options. You can have a read through and decide which is best for you and your family and at the end I will tell you what I do with my own 2 girls.
Option 1: THE GRADUAL APPROACH
In the lead up (aka NOW!), make your child’s bedtime a little later each night so that when the time changes, your child isn’t too cranky. So from today start putting your child to bed 15 minutes later and later each day. The idea is to do it in slow increments so that when you really do have to change, they will easily cope. That’s the first part and probably the easier part.
The hard part to this is that they will still probably wake at the regular hour. Try and resettle if you can but if not, know they will just adjust after about a week. It may be a little bit of a tough week, depending on your babies temperament but try and go with the flow. Be a little flexible throughout the change, allow a little extra nap in the pram to help them make it through.. Or maybe do that extra drive around the block if they have fallen asleep in the car. There is nothing harder than an overtired child. Remember – sleep promotes sleep. The more tired they are, the less they will sleep. (That there my friends, is the most unfortunate rule of sleep consulting).
Don’t change bedtime in advance and just take those lemons and make lemonade! In other words, if your child is a relatively adaptable child who is OK with an occasional late night (as in not a Gina Ford routine stickler) then maybe its just worth having a couple harder days and be done with it rather than a weeks prep in the lead up to it.With either option here are the bigger problems with daylight savings clock change…
- This is when I find mothers get into the worst habit possible – bringing your bub/toddler back to bed with you. Yes 6am is now 5am and your child is ready to go, its annoying! Rather try and resettle them, bringing them back to your bed is short lived happiness. They may go back to sleep but you’ll see that they will want to do this earlier and earlier each day. I always tell my clients “why would they want to sleep in their own beds or cots when yours is a much better option”. Don’t let it even be an option.
- Children can become ridiculously overtired. This creates unhealthy sleep manners and can throw everything out and in fact make your child wake up even earlier. Watch sleep really cues closely and follow them.
- If you have a toddler, may now is the right time to introduce a Gro clock or Sleep Trainer Clock. With an older child – use this opportunity to start teaching them to tell the time.
- Have a very dramatic wake up routine – throw up the curtains, sing, make big gestures, show them natural light soon after they are awake so their brain can start learning that this is the appropriate time to wake up. A good wake up routine is just as important as a solid night time routine but something that is often not taught. This will help your child’s internal clock.
- Make an extra effort to have really good naps and meals. A well rested, well fed child will cope much better with the changes and may be enough to make the difference in having a good week or a really difficult one.
So what am I going to do with Mikah and Rafaella…C’mon you already know – The Suck it up approach!!
Sweet Dreams and Good Luck!!