Let's start by setting the scene......
You've been bathing in the glory of mastering a sweet bed time routine, and NOT a 5am wake up. Smiling away as you hear your little ones in the morning but aren't horrified to see that it's pitch black outside. You get up, begin the breaky train, turn on the tele for some background noise,
YOU STOP BUTTERING THE VEGEMITE TOAST.
"Did I read that right ? "
"wave goodbye to an hour of sleep"
Oh no, SHIT! You grab your phone, jump on the group chat to your fellow mum pals and say, "OMG, I TOTALLY FORGOT DAYLIGHT SAVINGS STARTS!".
Now, there are two avenues you can go down here. The first is, you had the warning of daylight savings and therefore have the opportunity to do some preparation. The second is, you had no warning and are panicking about the pending doom you'll be facing tomorrow morning.
I'm going to start with the second scenario, because we are in the crux of the change, and an hour of sleep loss can feel like a whole night to some parents.
- The first rule is not to follow that voice in your head that says "if I run their energy out, maybe they'll go to bed earlier and sleep longer". This is a NO. NO.
It's one thing to make sure your little one uses up their energy stores, and it's another to drain them completely. Don't set yourself up for the over-tired screaming festival.
My rule of thumb is always that over tired kids usually take longer to fall asleep and are incredibly restless when snooozing
- If your regular bed time is 7pm, aim for 6.30pm. The key to mastering daylight savings is to ignore the daylight outside. Just because the sun is out, doesn't mean their body clock isn't ready for resting time.
I like to encourage an extra book/s, or what I like to call 'independence time' - Let your little one have 10-15mins of quiet time in bed with books (not a stimulating toy), ALONE.
Children are as independent as you allow them to be - if you give them wings, they're fly!
"But if they go to bed early they'll wake earlier!!!!" - I'm sorry families, but this is a myth. Kids are so different and there are so many factors that come into play. I can't emphasise enough to TRUST your instinct -
If your child is tired, it's time to chill and not focus on the light outside. Their body needs at least 8-10hours of rest. This being said, please ignore the myth of "put them to sleep later to avoid 5am". By implementing allocated down time in bed, 30mins earlier, your child is learning to enjoy resting - this is much easier to work with at 5am.
THE BAD NEWS: Yep - so for a good week (at least), your little gem may get up at 5am (because their body clock is telling them it's 6am). This is OK, don't hate it because it is logical. You need to educate your child now on their new wake up time.
HOW? Using calm words and actions. "It's not time to wake up, back to bed" Ifyour child is under 15months you can take on a similar approach by not commencing feeds as soon as theyre up, and treating it as a night wake up. Calmly go inside, lightly pat them or cuddle them. Try not to turn on all the lights unless you actually want the day to start that early.
NAPS - Be mindful that your little one may be wanting to doze off earlier than expected (especially if they've been up since 5am). Try not to let them over-sleep, allow for a rest, not a long sleep haul.
For the bubbas, you can expect their morning sleeps to definitely come in a bit earlier. As they adjust to the new time zone, slowly start to push it out again.
Anca's daylight savings tips and tricks:
- First things first, slowly start to bring their bed time forward (or back) if it's usually 7pm you'll want to start the 10-15min increment change - this will help when the clocks change (in either direction) and it wont be too dramatic for them
- If your child is older, talk to them about it - Use books, pictures or make up a fun story about the sun and the moon. (use the button below to see Anca's suggestion).
- Prepare the room! If you have blinds/sheer curtains, grab some black paper and cover the windows, this will make bed time a little easier for your child to mentally grasp the 'night'. A child's body clock is so sensitive that it's important to monitor external factors.
- Take some breaths. You need time for you which will help your patience and tolerance levels and to also assist in being a bit more sympathetic to your child adjusting to the clock.