02 Apr Braving Daylight Savings
Isn’t it amazing the difference an hour makes? No matter which way the clock turns during daylight savings, we all know the effects on our little humans, and ourselves, can be significant. Especially when that child is sleeping perfectly to a schedule, because their parents used the services of Hush-a-Bee to get them to that nighttime paradise 😉
Daylight savings really does affect not only children’s sleep patterns, but adults too. In fact, statistically, there is an 8% increase in traffic accidents the Monday after daylight savings time kicks in. It really does have an effect on all of us, and it can increase our sleep debt – especially in children, who tend to be much more structured with going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. That is usually why people notice it the most in young children.
Given we endure this nightmare called Daylight Savings TWICE a year, let us show you the best way to ease your family through the change so we can turn the nightmare into a dream.
So, what is the best way to handle it? My advice is to split the difference.
This is a tough one, and tends to lead to early wakings – which is much harder on parents than it is on tots. For the morning after the change (Sunday), leave the clocks alone. Wake up as normal, start your day, equip yourself with some coffee and breakfast, and then go around changing the clocks. This helps make the change a lot less psychologically upsetting for you, and your child will have no idea they were up an hour earlier.
First 3 Days
If your little one is taking a nap during the day, put them down for their nap half an hour earlier (after you have changed the clocks). For example, if your child usually takes a morning nap around 9:30a.m., adjust this to 9:00a.m. for the three days after the time change. It will be a bit of a push for your child, particularly on day one, but not so much that it will upset their schedule. Do the same for every day time nap.
Bedtime is basically treated in the same way. Start everything half an hour earlier, including dinner. Once their routine is complete, pop your little one in bed half an hour earlier than normal. So, if your child usually goes to bed at 7:00p.m. you should put them to bed at 6:30p.m. for the first three days following the time change (this will FEEL like 7:30p.m. to your child).
On day 4, bring everything in line with the new time. Again, it may be a little tough the first day or 2, but you’ll all soon adjust and be on normal time in no time.
In general, it will take about a week for your tot’s body to get used to the time change, because it takes everyone’s body roughly one week to adjust any kind of change in sleeping habits. This will include early morning wake-ups, which is just something you will have to accept for the first little while after the change.
Encouraging your little one to sleep longer in the morning will depend on their age. If they are old enough to understand numbers or shapes, use the following method:
- Get a digital clock and cover the minutes with duct tape.
- Write the number “7” clearly on a piece of paper and stick it on or next to the clock.
- Explain to your littlie that when the clock makes the same number as the piece of paper, they can get up.
- Set the clock half an hour earlier for the first three days, so even if it is 6:30a.m. when they wake during the first few days, they think it is 7:00a.m. and are encouraged to stay in bed until that time.
- If you need to, use a reward if they stay in bed until the clock says “7”, and make sure they receive that reward as soon as they wake.
- After 3 days, set the clock to the normal time and repeat the above steps.
For even smaller people (babies), it’s up to you to decide when they get up. The easiest way to do this is adjust the time you get them up by 10 minutes each day until you’re back at 7:00a.m. This simply means if you hear them wake at 6:00a.m., don’t rush in to get them up straight away. Go in at 6:10a.m., then 6:20a.m. the next day, and so on until you’re back at 7:00a.m. This is an easy, gradual adjustment for your bubba, and should make your life a lot easier.
Use the same “split the difference” method as fall back, only this time it works in reverse. For example, if the normal morning nap time is 9:30a.m., after you change the clocks on Sunday morning, pop your littlie down for their nap at 10:00a.m. This will feel like 9:00a.m. to your child and they may not be tired enough to sleep straight away, but you’re encouraging them to change their body clocks this way.
Do the same for every nap and bedtime for the first three days after the change, and then on the fourth day you can bring everything back in line to their normal times.
Again, respect the fact that it may take longer for their bodies, as well as yours, to adjust properly, and you’ll find any hiccups a lot easier to deal with.
If you are struggling with these changes, or anything sleep related, we can set up a call or email session to try and work out what you can do to fix it.