Remember the days before kids? When you heard “Fall Back- change the clocks” a wonderful feeling of excitement and pleasure filled your body as we prepared for an extra full hour of sleep! Instead of it being 7AM already, its only 6AM- and you can go back to sleep! Ah, what a good feeling!
The sad thing here is that once you have babies and children, this changing of the clocks doesn’t evoke such joyous feelings. Now instead of your baby waking at 6AM will they be waking at 5AM old time? Instead of bedtime at 7PM will they not be tired until 8PM? This Fall time change can actually create some stress and anxiety for parents!
So how should we handle this? Firstly, I would like to remind you that patience and consistency go a LONG WAY. Secondly, this one hour time change may cause a few bumpy days, but with consistency, sleep should get sorted out, back to normal in about a week at most. (After all, it is only an hour).
Since we are moving the clocks back, when it is 7PM it will actually feel like 8PM for your little munchkin. SO really it’s just a matter of your child going down a little bit later and you can handle this transition in a few ways:
For a few days before the time change (3-4 should be enough), put your babe down 15 mins later for bedtime, get her up 15 mins later in the AM, and push naps as well. Continue to do this, gradually pushing later by 15 mins, so that by the time the clocks are changed, baby is already used to this new bedtime. (EX. Night #1 7:15 Bedtime, Night #2 7:30 Bedtime, Night #3 7:45 Bedtime, etc.) Remember though, that if we push bedtime gradually later and later we must also push wake times, meal times and nap times as well. It all must be shifted.
Just assume the new time. Keep bedtime the same time according to the new time. Make sure your child takes a good nap that afternoon to make it to the later bedtime. Make sure he doesn’t start the day earlier than 6AM (new time). Schedule all meals and naps according to the new time. (P.S.I prefer this method, as I find it’s easiest to be consistent and it rarely takes longer than a week to adjust.)
So there you have it. “Fall Back” just doesn’t have the same meaning it once had before you were a parent. Remember, if you can be consistent with your child’s bedtimes and wake times and structure the schedule accordingly, everything should be smooth and settled in about a week. And hey, if it isn’t there’s always the Prairies where these silly time changes do not occur 😉
Tips For a “Smooth Move”
This past week we moved our family from our west side Vancouver home over to the east side. Truth be told, moving with a newly walking (and extremely busy) little 15 month proved to be somewhat exhausting. However, we made it and here we are, slowly but surely setting up our new place to call home.
I knew that this move was gong to be a transition for my husband and I. We are used to living a couple blocks from the beach and were aware that our new location would be an adjustment. What I forgot though, that was that moving homes is actually a huge transition for the whole family- especially for my daughter. It wasn’t until we were fully moved in that I noticed her mood and sleep had been impacted by this major life change for her- and rightfully so!
Not only is it a significant change for most babies over 5 months, but the stress that my husband and I were exhibiting (trying to get everything prepared and organized for the move, cleaning, basically running around like crazy) before the actual move kind of began to rub off on her. It’s so true that the energy and mood our children give off, is often a reflection of the energy we as parents are putting out there. On top of that, the new and unfamiliar environment can feel very strange at first for babies and young children.
I noticed right away that my daughter felt unsure and a bit confused about her new room. Where had the carpets gone? Why was it so echoey? What are all these big boxes in the way of everything? It sure feels cold in here. Her facial expression each time we’d enter her room seemed like it was saying “what the heck, where are we? Take me home!” Our first few days in our new home, she refused a couple of naps. Crying out feeling alarmed by her new sleep situation made sense. She was certainly noticeably thrown off for a few days, but now, a week later, she is back to her normal self; happy, outgoing, fearless (eek), and back to being a brilliant sleeper. There were a few things that we did in order to help make this somewhat overwhelming change for her as smooth as possible:
Tips for a “Smooth Move”
Use familiar items: Immediately incorporate toys, loveys, pjs or unwashed sheets that give off that familiar smell during time spent in the room/sleep periods. These familiar items may be enough to calm and comfort your child in her new space. (For example, at our old place we had a framed picture of a painted horse and may daughter loved saying “night night” to it each night before sleep- it had kind of become part of our bedtime routine. I made sure that one of the first things we got out of boxes and up on her wall was this picture so that she would see it and know that she is in a safe, familiar place).
Create a cozy bedroom environment as quickly as possible: Of course there is a lot to do and it can feel like you will never get all the unpacking done- however, try to prioritize your child’s sleep environment FIRST so that they feel settled and comfortable as soon as possible. It doesn’t have to a perfect magazine (or instagram :)) quality nursery/bedroom but simply setting up a few items to re-create the look of his old bedroom right away should help.
Use all the things you used at your old place for sleep: Use any white noise or sound machine that you may have been using and black out blinds/darkening shade to enhance the sleep environment. Get these things set up before your first attempt at getting your babe down for sleep.
Use your consistent, strong bedtime routine: You all know a bedtime routine is a must in my opinion, and this is an especially important time to be using it consistently. The bedtime routine can go a long way in making your little one feel comfortable and gives them a sense of security and calming familiarity.
Follow these tips to ensure a “Smooth Move” for your sweetie and before you know it, your little one will be just as excited and joyful about their new home as you are!