There are good things and bad things about Daylight Savings Time*. One good thing about it is that you can stay out longer in the evening before it gets dark. Another is that your kids might sleep a little later in the morning for the first few weeks of it. But still, whenever we spring forward or fall back, babies and kids all across the world can have sleep issues for a few days.
This can be especially frustrating if you’ve just gotten your baby into a really solid schedule, and now 7 o’clock is actually 8 o’clock, so suddenly things aren’t working anymore. Or if your toddler is finally going down with no protests and all of a sudden it’s light outside at bedtime and your child thinks you’re trying to trick him or her into going to bed earlier. Kids who go to school can really be messed up for a few days by their body’s need to sleep later but having to get up earlier to get to school. They can be extra-cranky for a week or more. Of course, there are some kids who won’t miss a beat and switch back and forth easily.
IME there are a few different ways you can approach time changes. You can try to go cold turkey to stick with the official bedtime. (If the bedtime is at 8, just stick with when the clock says 8, even though the kid’s body feels like it’s actually 7.) Or you can go by what your child’s body thinks it is, and then move the bedtime by 10 minutes every day until you’ve transitioned to the new time in a week. (So the first night you keep the kid up until 9, because the child’s body thinks it’s 8. The next night bedtime is at 8:50, then 8:40, etc. until the bedtime is back to 8.) Or you can just roll with it and move bedtime back by an hour. (This only works if you have some flexibility in the morning–if your child has to be at daycare or school soon after waking up, this won’t be an option for you.) But if you can do it, it’s kind of fun to stay up later and wake up later in the summer.
Obviously what you choose is going to be affected by your child’s temperament and also your child’s age. Don’t forget about naps in all of this, either. Your child might switch to the new bedtime easily, but the naps might be off by an hour for days or weeks or permanently. (I wonder if more kids transition from one nap to two in the weeks following time changes than at other times.)
You may have to spend a few days playing around with it all to find the right bedtime again. But don’t be discouraged–things will be fine again soon. You’re not alone, as parents all over the world are dealing with this exact same issue right now. Except for parents in Arizona.
Tips or ideas or anecdotes in the comments, please.
* Europe started last week, North America started two days ago, and Australia just ended it. Check out timeanddate.com
for more information and to find out what time it is in selected world
cities. For specific info about US and Mexican states and Canadian
provinces, check out timetemperature.com.