Any of my readers from overseas probably wonder what all the fuss is about come Autumn and Spring when blogs and twitter feeds are full of parents muttering about the changing clocks in the UK. Yes, if you missed it, last weekend we had the clocks go back an hour.
As the saying goes, Spring forward, fall back.
So an extra hour in bed…in theory.
I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone profess to have a foolproof solution to making children cope and sleep that extra hour, therefore coping well with the adjustment in having to eat all meals and go to bed that extra hour later.
You could try the ‘gradually put the child to bed later each night the week before, and then they’ll be on the new time already’ idea. But it means you’ll have them up longer in the evenings and they still might wake up at the same too early time. If they’re anything like N, whatever time he goes to bed, he still seems to be up at the same time.
Try exhausting them on the Saturday. Again, with N it doesn’t seem to make him sleep any better. Either he sleeps or he doesn’t. He might be more tired in the evening, but it won’t help the length of time he sleeps.
Or go hard core, and just make them adjust, like you would with jetlag. So from the point the clocks change, work with the new time – eating and sleeping according to the new times. We generally just go with this system. N adjusts fairly quickly, and although I expected him to be wanting lunch at the new 11am, he was fine waiting until 12 as usual.
N’s got into the habit of getting into bed with me once the OH’s gone out to work. The habit can range from 5.30 to 7am when I get up. Sometimes he’ll be totally awake and ready to go, other times he’ll creep in and just go to sleep and I’ll have no idea until I wake up at 6ish when my alarm goes off. Sometimes he comes in wanting his nappy changed as he says he’s wee’d, othertimes I can put him back in his room with the light on and he’ll play with toys or look at books. Unless he just wants to climb on me it’s not too much of an issue, although I’d rather he slept in his own bed til later.
I have got a GroClock for him and he knows he’s meant to stay in his room until the screen’s yellow. That doesn’t work when he just fiddles around pressing buttons until the yellow shows! Must check if there’s a lock button. I could also do with getting a safe and easy lamp for his room that has a button that he can turn on and off, then when it’s still dark in the morning, he can turn on his own light rather than having to get me to do it.
Because he’s been waking and getting up earlier than his previous 7am, I was dreading the clocks going back. It was even more of a worry when he was so tired the night before, that he was virtually falling asleep on the floor by 6.30pm. So an early night to bed, plus an additional hour to sleep and he work at the new 5.30. So an old 6.30. Not bad. He chilled out in bed for a bit, then got up and played, so we were up at 6.30am.
I’ve heard lots of people saying how their children have struggled to adjust during the day…I’m not sure of the answer, as we don’t do anything different to normal and N seems to cope. He wanted to go for his nap earlier on the Sunday afternoon, didn’t fall asleep in the car before lunch like he quite often does, and he went to bed at the normal time of around 7.20pm. Even with a cough that keeps waking him in the night, he’s sleeping to a normal pattern and for that I’m very relieved.
Of course, come the end of March, we’ll have to reverse the process again, and for that I will try and exhaust him in the day and get him to bed a bit earlier in the hope of getting him adjusted without letting him sleep too long the next morning.
How have your children adapted? Did you have an early wake up? Do you have any methods you use to avoid too much loss of sleep?