Before I had kids, I LOVED the end of Daylight Savings Time in the fall. “Falling back” an hour and luxuriating in an extra hour of sleep that first Sunday morning was fantastic! Fast forward several years and a couple of babies later, and I greet the impending change with a different set of emotions. There might be an extra hour in that day, but there certainly isn’t an extra hour of sleep. The kids are up when they are up, no matter what the clock says. When I look around preschool drop-off the Monday after Daylight Savings Time each year, I can see I’m not alone. Don’t get me started about what all the time shifting does to nap time for the diaper set either. Fortunately, over the years I’ve developed an array of tips and tricks to help maintain baby’s schedule and get the rest of the family adjusted sooner rather than later.
The Time Warp
To avoid the grogginess and brain fog that accompanies the daylight savings change, try incremental adjustments to everyone’s schedule in the days before the shift. It is best if you can start four or more days ahead of the time change and push bedtimes, naps, and morning wake-up back by 15 minutes each day. These adjustments are easiest for babies that don’t have school and other scheduling constraints. For older kids, letting them sleep an extra 30 or 45 minutes on the Friday before Daylight Savings ends might mean they are late for school. Fortunately for them, staying up late on the Friday and Saturday before (like grownups!) is a great way to catch up. For the diaper set, I have found setting alarms on my phone as reminders for the pre-adjusted wake-up, nap, and bedtimes are the only way I can keep track of the time adjustments. Although it’s not perfect, doing ‘the time warp’ in small increments spreads out the struggle. The dreaded Monday after Daylight Savings begins or ends isn’t nearly as difficult.
Get More Sleep Now
Take an honest look at how much sleep you are getting now. Daylight Savings is a good semiannual opportunity to do a tune-up on everyone’s sleep routine. Our routine goes as follows: bath, diaper change into a nighttime diaper, pj’s, bedtime stories, a bottle, a final kiss and then lights out. Adding Huggies OverNites Diapers was the difference between sleeping for five hours at a stretch and sleeping for eight (not to mention a whole pot of coffee versus just two cups every morning). I had never given much thought to the difference between daytime and nighttime diaper needs until a sitter made the suggestion. Switching to a diaper that helped our boys stay settled and soothed made all the difference. Huggies OverNites Diapers have 12 hours of leakage protection which gets us comfortably through our bedtime routine and a sound night sleep. I also like that they have SnugFit waistbands and a breathable outer cover that lets my baby’s tender skin breathe all night long. If your routine needs a different tweak, take a look at when you give a bath and the amount of time you allocate to bedtime. Some families have luck bathing their kids before dinner. We now have a significantly more relaxed routine and an easier time getting the boys to fall asleep once we made sure to start getting ready about 20 minutes earlier.
Be a Vampire
Try and control the light exposure you and your kids are getting in the week leading up to the time shift. When you are making sure your kids don’t go to bed too early or wake up too early, try to sneak in some extra exposure to daylight in the late afternoon or early evening. Perhaps you can take a walk after dinner. If it’s too dark by then, do a little something outside before dinner. In the morning, make sure bedrooms aren’t too bright. Keep those blackout shades drawn! The reverse is true in the spring, close the blackout shades in the evening as the days get longer and open them in the morning to let the daylight inside.
Limit naptime. Particularly as you make adjustments for Daylight Savings, you’ll need to manage wake-up times. It is SO tempting to let your little ones sleep and get a little more time to yourself, but you will pay for it later. Set an alarm and stick to it.
Look for other irritants. Check your kid’s clothes and rooms for other things that might bother them during the night. Adding a fan to circulate the air in my older son’s room gives him a much more restful night’s sleep. For my little one, we made adjustments for his sensitive skin. We cut the tags out of pj’s, eliminated bubble baths, and switched to a different baby wipe. We like Huggies Natural Care Wipes. They are incredibly soft and importantly, fragrance, paraben and alcohol-free.
What are your tips and tricks for making a smooth transition for the end of Daylight Savings? Share your wisdom and experience so we can all get a little extra sleep.
This post is sponsored by Huggies OverNites Diapers.
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