Thursday, 24 October 2013

What Will Our Little Sleep Thief Make of the Clock Change on Sunday ? Any Tips?

We have a good bedtime routine, a well loved (by me), 'Ewan the Dream Sheep', blankies and an impressive assortment of cuddly toys, not to mention our fair share of well thumbed baby sleep guides. We've been referred to a sleep clinic in the past and we have spent months getting our youngest to sleep better without letting him cry. These days at nearly 17 months old his sleep is much improved but he still wakes 2/3 times a night, not ideal but tolerable at least, I no longer feel like my head is full of cotton wool, we have not been late for school so far this term (this is a great achievement believe me) and I can generally hold an adult conversation without forgetting what I'm going to say mid-sentence. I am also no longer entirely dependent on coffee to get through the each day.

Then I was reminded that the clocks go back this weekend and in my experience this is never great news for baby and toddler bedtimes. However I was reassured to hear that babies sleep better in the winter months as the light levels are more conducive to natural sleep rhythms.  There is hope then that Our Little Sleep Thief may take this on board and start sleeping even better........Like I say there is hope!!

I discovered 'the gro company' have some great tips for preparing your child for when the clocks go back. But sadly I fear I may have discovered these a little late as they advise starting  two weeks prior to the clock change, by making your child's bedtime later by 10 minutes every other night. That way when the clocks do go back they are already going to bed an hour later. Sorted!

I have only two nights left now before the change, so I'll experiment and make bedtime half an hour later each night and see if that works. It's worth a try.

They also recommend that you have a an active day on the Saturday before and the Sunday after.......not such great news for us again. We have a 4 hour car journey this Saturday, an overnight in a hotel and a 4 hour journey back on Sunday which means disrupted naps, disrupted bedtimes and potential cabin (or car) fever! All in all I think we may not have planned very well for this potential disruption to our fragile sleep situation.

Remember the days when the clocks going back was just brilliant news because you got that extra delicious hour in bed? It's a vague and distant memory here. I've said before that both of my sons are reliably early risers, 6 am is a lie in, 5 am is the common start time to our day..........sinking feeling.......this potentially means that over the next week I may be doing some gentle persuasion that 4 am really is not time to get up, 'IT'S STILL THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT!'

Thankfully the Australian Parenting site Kidspot have reassuring news: 'Generally it takes about a week after the clocks have changed for everyone, no matter what age, to be in a new sleeping pattern so try to have patience if you have a tired and grumpy child on your hands in the days after the time change.' So after 17 months of sleep deprivation and 10 years of 5 am starts I am sure we will survive one week of adjustment. As my husband is at home after years of working away during the week, at least we can share the early mornings and the distracting of 'tired grumpy' children. Next year I will plan it better too!

What about you? Have you prepared your baby or toddler for the clock change this weekend? Have you any hints and tips for me and other parents? I'd love to hear your thoughts about changing to and from daylight saving time.