I don’t know about you, but over here we are (rather desperately now) dreaming of summer. Anyone else feel like this winter is never ending? It seems that we’ve had a few glimpses of spring (and we immediately commence conversations about riding bikes, blowing bubbles and hitting the park) and every. single. time. winter shows up the very next day to prove us wrong. Sigh.
One thing that does single spring for sure is daylight savings time. Ain’t no winter going to mess with that 😉 Yes, the very thing all of us Mamas have been cursing since it screwed with the nap schedule for the very first time– the time change. But, I’ll happily sacrifice an hour of morning sun and a few perfectly scheduled naps or bedtimes for an extra hour of sunlight in the evening, which clearly signals us to get outside! I mean, it could be worse: it could be Fall and we could have the problem of kids waking up TOO early.
So, is there any trick to surviving the time change with kids? I’m no expert (in time change, really, is anyone?) But I’m happy to share some tried and true tips from our family to yours.
Adjust the schedule: We ease our kids into the time change by adjusting their bedtime to 15-30 min earlier, depending on how tired they are. So, if bedtime is 7:30 pm (which will become 8:30 pm) we put them to bed about a half-an-hour earlier, which is 7:00 pm in their body, but now 8:00 pm in reality. Yikes- I can barely keep these times straight!
If your kids tend to just sleep later on nights where they are up late then 1. I’m jealous, and 2. maybe you can totally just roll with the new time. Lucky you! My kids don’t buy this concept and no matter which way the time change is, we always have a few days of adjustment. When we slowly inch closer and closer towards the new time, our kids seem to adjust better and are back to the same schedule within a few nights. Thankfully, because lord knows my kids won’t simply wake up an hour later if I just put them to bed an hour later!
If you’re like me and love trying out a good baby/kid product, here are a few other things that might help with the transition:
Make it dark: We love our Gro Anywhere Blinds by the Gro Company. Made of thin black-out material, these “blinds” are amazing for blocking out light. We bought these for our previous home when the afternoon sun blared into our daughter’s room like a marching band at nap time and we always use them now since they are amazing at blocking out sun and kids sleep better in the dark. They are meant for travel and attach to the window with suction cups, so they can easily be attached temporarily to your windows and adjusted or moved as you see fit.
Be consistent: We always find that being consistent with our bedtime routine the first few days is very helpful. If you’re struggling with mixed up wake-up times, the Gro Clock , also by the Gro Company, can be a helpful tool for consistency. We purchased one of these for our daughter who has always been an early riser. The Gro Clock is adjustable so that you set a time for the icon sun to come up, which signals your child that it’s okay to get out of bed.
Now, this part is going to sound a little inconsistent, how’s that for being consistent? This is a great product, but (like anything) it does require commitment on your part. We haven’t done our part in enforcing that our daughter always go back to bed to wait for the sun, so (as completely expected) she half listens to the clock. This is totally on us, but I wasn’t prepared to push this issue when our wake up times and morning obligations weren’t always consistent. That said you can adjust the clock daily to a different time, but really you aren’t teaching their body any sort of consistent rhythm. Again, this is a great product and we still use it today, I am simply sharing my reality of how it plays out with a three year old. Be consistent if you want the results!
At the end of the day, products or not, daylight savings time brings about a new season. One filled with warm sun, fresh air, and the opportunity to get outside more often than not– no excuses. So, perhaps all we need is a little positive spin, with the added promise of new adventures outdoors with our kiddos. Here’s to a happy, healthy spring ahead!