So I'm trying to be proactive about switching time instead of talking about it after the fact. We switch to DST next Sunday (and by "we" I mean the USA, Canada, Mexico, the UK, and lots of Europe, and probably some places I missed), and all the normal stuff is going to apply. We miss an hour of sleep ("spring forward") and you're going to have to try to decide how to deal with whatever havoc that wreaks on your kids' schedule. But here's a new twist I haven't heard, from Ann (from Seattle, if any of you from the Seattle meetup remember her):
"So, I just realized that Daylight Savings starts next Sunday, and thisis the first time that we know in advance that it'll affect my son's
sleep (last time sort of sneaked up on us). Could you do a post this
week on how to manage the time change, for those of us who are
relatively new at it? Last time it TOTALLY SUCKED.
he is a not-terribly-scheduled toddler — his nap- and bed- times
aren't so much clock-based as dependent on when he woke up last. He's
still on 2 naps/day, usually, and he's awake for 3-4 hours between
naps/bedtime. So that makes it hard to put him down 10 minutes early
every day for a week, etc. Any ideas?
To make matters even worse, he turned 18 months a couple of weeks ago. So, lots of awesome sleep stuff going on here."
Well, because I have one guiding principle in life ("there's always another way"), I immediately started thinking about how Ann and her husband could bang their heads against the rocks of a non-scheduled bedtime, or they could let go of the end of that rope and take one of two approaches.
Possible Approach #1: Since his sleep is all FUBAR because of being 18 months anyway, do nothing and just let the suck continue apace for another few weeks. Since his sleep is screwed up anyway, perhaps the won't notice the time change issues as severely as they did last year when he was 6 months old and it won't be as troublesome.
Possible Approach #2: Go at it from the other end, by adjusting his wake-up time. I mentioned this to Ann, who told me that he doesn't have a specific wake-up time, but that he usually wakes up in a one-hour window of time. (I won't tell you what that one hour is, because I like Ann and would like for you all to continue to like her, too.)
I think a one-hour timeframe is easy enough to work with, and makes this approach doable. I would just pick a time (let's say the midpoint of the time range in which he usually wakes up) and wake him up then for a couple of mornings. Since it's within half an hour of his natural wake-up, it shouldn't have any major negative effects on him. Then just start waking him up 10 minutes earlier every day for the rest of the week coming into the time change. If you could get him to wake up an hour earlier by the night before the time change, then the morning of the time change he'll be sprung forward and waking up at the midpoint of his previous wakeup time.
It sounds so simple in theory, doesn't it?
In reality, it could work like a charm. Or they could all go down in flames. Or he could cut the 18-month molars and not sleep for three days straight, or a motorcycle gang could race loudly down Ann's street and wake him up, or anything else could happen. So I make no guarantees, and no one should schedule anything important, like, say, defending a dissertation or doing any Olympic qualifying rounds for next week.