I tried those daylight saving time tips with my kid – here’s how it went

I tried those daylight saving time tips with my kid – here’s how it went

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Memes depicting the trauma that daylight saving time inflicts upon parents everywhere have been flooding my social media all week. Soon our children will turn into nocturnal creatures, depriving the entire family of sleep. Schedules be dammed, they will laugh at the numbers on the clock and sleep only when they want. The majority of the parents in my Facebook feed have been preparing for it as a survivalist would an apocalypse.

Memes are often humorous because they exaggerate real situations. But not in this case. Every single thing you hear and read is true. It’s hell. No, it makes hell look like a five-star resort. It almost feels like you’re operating at newborn baby-level exhaustion for a few days. Truly.

My son has always been a “challenged” sleeper. He’s essentially the baby who never slept, the one you hear about in urban legends. Our pediatrician sent us to a sleep coach when he was 5 months old and we finally found peace through a schedule. And then daylight saving time comes around and says “screw you” to that schedule.

I refused to go back. To the exhaustion, the feeling of sleepwalking through my day. I was going to beat daylight saving time and my plan was to hack my son’s schedule to survive. Either that, or I’d leave him with my parents until he adjusted. Unfortunately, they said no. I went for the hack plan.

Luckily the internet is full of great resources for tips on surviving daylight saving time (you can find BabyCenter’s expert tips here and here). I enlisted my sleep coach (Kerrin Edmonds of Meet You In Dreamland) because she was personally familiar with my son’s struggle.

Our first attempt to hack daylight saving time was in October 2017, the “fall back” time change. I won’t lie, I wasn’t expecting much. It was more of a “he’s going to be awake early and sleep like garbage for a week anyway, what’s the harm in trying” type of mindset. Not exactly optimistic.

Most of the tips we’d already implemented. Blackout curtains, sound machine. The temperature was regulated. His bedroom was a perfect cave, conducive to sleep. We were set in that area.

For us, the biggest change was adjusting his sleep and nap times. We began about a week before the time change and moved his naps and bedtime by about 10 minutes each day (earlier for spring, later for fall). By the end of the week he was on the new schedule and we put him down at his normal time. And instead of it being an entire hour earlier all at once, he’d been slowly adjusting over the previous week.

The morning after the time change my husband and I awoke and looked at the clock. Our son was still asleep. And it wasn’t 5 a.m., it was 6:45 a.m. We were floored. I assumed the daylight saving time sleep crisis was just a myth. How could my child, the anti-sleeper, have transitioned so well?

After talking with friends, other moms who had so-called “good sleepers,” I felt almost guilty. Several reported their child waking earlier than normal, not napping and, as a result of the missing sleep, acting extra fussy. Did we just beat daylight saving time? It sure felt like it.

The other thing we did was keep him active and outside right before and after the time change. The sun helps set our body clocks, and we wanted all the help we could get. We went to the park, ran errands, took walks. Anything to stay busy and outdoors. If he looked like he was about to nod off between naps we made sure he stayed awake. And on schedule.

The more active he was the better he slept. And a well rested child sleeps better – and longer – at night. I may have gone a bit heavy on the activities and playdates for a few days, but my son slept. Well. Really well, actually.

The older my son gets, the better he sleeps. But that hasn’t stopped us from implementing the hacks again over the past week. Fingers crossed we’re two-for-two come Sunday.

For more mom moments, follow me on Instagram at Witty Otter.

How do your kids handle daylight saving time? Have you ever tried any tricks or hacks?

Images by Becky Vieira

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

Watch the video: How to adjust to Daylight Saving Time (August 2022).

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