First of all. I’m sorry I’m posting this today when it’s too late to use this advice. I am going to suggest for you at the end how to do bedtime tonight so you can get back on track. Overall, it could feel like I’m being unsympathetic when we all know that time changes for parents are mostly terrible.
I’m a real mom. I wanted to try this out on my kids last night and see if it worked before I gave you advice. Marketing says, I should have written this out yesterday. But then if I did that I wouldn’t have known if it really worked. And I’m morally opposed to giving you how-to advice that isn’t tried and true in my home. Can we all just agree that this is meant to help you, not shame or offend you? Next go around you’re going to need this so Pin it or try it tonight or tomorrow. Not all is lost.
I’m starting by giving you the step by step. Then, I’ll wrap it up with a quick explanation. At the very end I’ll give an idea for recovering if Daylight Savings went horrible.
HOW TO MANIPULATE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TO WORK FOR YOU:
- Block off the day before Daylight Savings in your calendar so you are ready to take action.
- Give your kids naps later than usual.
- Keep them up very late and wear them out.
- Hope for the best…
GIVE NAPS LATER
I typically give my younger kids naps after lunch from 2-4pm. Yesterday, which was the day before Daylight Savings, I purposed to keep the kids up as long as they would let me. We played board games, built a train track. I gave them my full attention because I knew they were borderline on the edge of losing it and desperately needing the nap. Giving them my full attention and playing with them typically diverts any overtired meltdowns.
We played until I looked at the clock and successfully, I had pushed nap to 4pm. Yay! I was kind of proud of myself. Ha. I would’ve been happy to push it back just an hour, but everyone was happy so why not go with it? They napped 4-6pm. If this ever happened as a fluke, I would have been waking kids up at 5pm and trying not to let it “ruin bedtime”.
When they woke up, I fed them a late dinner around 7pm. I planned fun activities at home and we moved through those with a purpose to wear them out and keep them up as late as I can without meltdowns. We played play-doh, painted, rebuilt our train tracks. Bottom line: we got busy and made messes. You can also have them run around, do jumping jacks, go outside or whatever playing you think is best. Then finally at 9pm I gave them baths. There was a little bath time drama so I just scrubbed em quick and got out of there.
Now, mind you, my kids bedtime is 8:30pm so this is getting us very behind. It’s nearly 9:20pm and despite the bath time fiasco, I thought I’d see if I could push them later even more. I offered to put on a movie and this where they could fall asleep during the movie. But, I let them get excited about eating popcorn. Snacking on the popcorn keeps them busy and distracts them from how tired they really are. Surprisingly, they stayed awake through the movie. At 11pm at night, I tucked them in for bed. Crazy, huh? So they are completely worn out and went to bed very late.
As I’m writing this, it’s 7:30am and they are still sleeping. Update: I just finished writing this and it’s 8:03am on Daylight Savings and they just woke up.
So, there you have it. Run the day before Daylight Savings as though the time has already changed.
Note: if you have babies ages 6-12 months that take a morning and an afternoon nap, make sure the morning nap is the one you work hard at keeping them awake. It is more natural to shift the afternoon when they got in a later morning nap.
One other variation: you know your kids. If a 1-2 hour shift isn’t going to work, you could try gradually pushing naps and bedtime back by 20 minutes and split that over the 3 days leading up to time change.
If your kids were up at the ungodly hour of 4 am, 5 am or even 6 am and you’re feeling exhausted and annoyed, try this. First, just drink coffee, lay low, and try to keep it together.
Tonight, try the above plan. Keep them awake as late as you can. Rather than putting them to bed at the typical 7:30 or 8pm, try keeping them up later. For me, the key to it has been giving them my full attention, playing hard and being creative on how to keep them up late without asking for a meltdown.
I’ve also been known to put pjs on and go on a night drive, drive through Starbucks and play “I spy” in the car. Get them to look out the window and tell you what they see. It keeps them engaged and more alert. If your child is likely to fall asleep in the car, this solution wouldn’t work.
Alright, mamas. This is all I’ve got on this topic. I’m hoping some of this helps you!
Drop me a comment below and let me know what you think. I’m trying to be sensitive because I get it, time changes for parents are just plain tough. As in everything, hope for the best. Your kids just want you. They don’t know what time it is. They have no concept of time. But they are impacted by your ability to present with them in the moment. (I’m raising my hand and working at it myself.)