The changing season means the national 'all parents lose an hour of sleep' day is upon us. That’s right, it means over the coming weeks various countries are going on or off of Daylight Saving Time, which means our kids’ internal clocks are going to be an hour out. This change isn’t such a big deal for people without kids, but for those with kids, we know how it can be a big source of stress and sleeplessness!
So before you get too stressed out over the time change, we have pulled together what are hopefully a few strategies and tips to minimise the impact of the time change.
Setting yourself up for success
In one of our previous blog posts we talked about how important it is to give your baby a solid sleep environment (i.e. dark, low noise, safe, cot with sides), and have a consistent pre-bedtime routine to give them the best chance at uninterrupted sleep. If you can do this and maintain it during any time changes, you’re one step closer to getting through this potential rough patch.
Take stock of your current situation
Is your baby a predictable sleeper (i.e. sleeps 11-12 hours a night, naps easily) or are they inconsistent and wake a lot? The so-called ‘good sleepers’ probably won’t need much time to adjust, however the ‘poor sleepers’ require a bit more effort. In fact, with the ‘good sleepers’ you can probably just adjust their schedule after the time change.
Strategies for Adjusting to Daylight Savings
Below are three tried and tested strategies for dealing with the Daylight Savings Time change. It's not a perfect recipe, but it will be a starting point for many of you.
1. Just wing it
This strategy is good for those parents who forgot about Daylight Savings Time and do not have time to make incremental changes to their babies’ schedules. While this strategy works for some, it can result in some very early mornings and overtired children during dinner time as they struggle to make it all the way to bedtime.
2. Incremental changes for ‘good sleepers’
- If your baby normally gets up at 7am, they will wake at 6am the morning after the time change. When they wake, try to hold on for 30 minutes before getting them. Push your whole schedule back by 30 minutes for the rest of the day.
- Maintain this 30 minute adjusted schedule for 2-3 days and then adjust by another 30 minutes so it brings your baby back to the correct wake up time in the morning that it was prior to Daylight Saving Time.
3. Incremental changes for ‘poor sleepers’
- If your baby already struggles in the sleep department you will probably need to make some changes over the course of a week. It means you, as the parent, will have to deprive yourself of a little sleep in the lead up to Daylight Saving Time, however it will also help you adjust too!
- One week before Daylight Saving Time, adjust your baby’s bedtime to be 15 minutes later. In the morning, let your baby stay in its cot for an extra 15 minutes. Push your whole schedule back by 15 minutes for the rest of the day
- Continue adjusting your baby’s routine by 15 minutes every other day until Daylight Saving Time when your baby is on the correct hour for waking up.
Finally, good luck!
We hope there are a couple of useful tidbits of information in there to help you get through the Daylight Savings weekend. Parents everywhere will be sharing your pain, whether it is just for one day or two weeks… you can do it! And if everything turns to custard, then maybe it’s time to start thinking about moving somewhere which doesn’t have Daylight Saving Time!