Are you worried about the upcoming time change this fall? If you have babies and toddlers then the time change can bring some sleeping, eating, and fussiness problems. But never fear, here are some tips that will help you manage the time change in stride. Post contains affiliate links.
November 1, 2015…
Dum dum dum…
“Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.” Thomas Hardy
It’s a common thing, being bothered by the change. Pre-motherhood it is only vaguely uncomfortable, but with children it can be truly disruptive.
Whether you are a go with the flow personality type (the Calm + Steady and Fun + Energetic) or lean toward planning and preparation (the Confident + Take Charge and Strong + Deliberate) it’s a good idea to have a basic game plan in place for the sake of your lovely offspring. It’s tough on them too!
Start Preparing a Week Ahead… or Go Cold Turkey
Generally speaking, I prefer cold turkey. I’ve never prepared for time changes in advance by slight schedules shifts because that seems to draw out the anguish to me. I wait until the time changes, then stick with the new times mercilessly until we’ve all acclimated.
That said, many moms start moving the schedule towards the new time (whether spring forward or falling back) up to a week before the time change so that, after it has happened, the kids are pretty much on track. Choose which will be easiest for you and go with it!
How Time Change Affects Eating
This is MAJOR! You might be thinking… time change affects eating? Um, yes, okay, because now dinner’s in the dark. This is true, but the reason time changes can throw babies and toddlers for a loop is because their bodies acclimate to the times at which they eat. Do you eat lunch at the same time every day? Isn’t that the exact time the body sends your brain hunger cues?
Same with babies and toddlers. For a few days your baby or toddler will still be ready to eat at the pre-time change time. If you normally serve lunch at 12, after the time changes they will feel hungry at 11 for a few days. I’d encourage you to fill them up at correct meal times, offer a nice healthy snack, then try to drag out mealtimes until the new time. It might not seem like it matters, except it does for the next reason….
Time Change Affects Sleep
Just as our bodies get used to eating at certain times, so they do with sleeping. In fact, your kids might wake early, sleep late or find it hard to get to sleep. These are to be expected and can be waited out. Try to keep your same schedule as before (but on the new time) and gradually work towards being super consistent. For babies or young toddlers with high sleep needs, try to prevent overtiredness and put them down early if needed.
Babies are likely to wake early from naps whether because they’re used to waking at that time or because they’re hungry earlier than normal. This is okay. Again, try to wait to feed until the desired schedule time while making sure their needs are met.
Keep the Course and Give it Time
Every time we travel and the kids have jet lag, or the time changes and we feel jet lagged, I remind myself that things will get back to normal. And they always do. If your schedule works for you now, keep it after the time change. It may take up to a week until everyone acclimates to the new times without eating or sleep disruptions, but you’ll get there!
Here’s hoping the kids all sleep a little later next month. :)
Need more routine help?
I’ve written a book about rhythms and routines with my friend Lauren. It has over 30 sample routines, including multiple children routines, and how to juggle baby and toddler schedules. Check it out here.
I’ve created a free email series just for you! There are truly only a few reasons why babies and toddlers have struggles sleeping… really, I mean it. I am going to teach you the main 3 reasons and how to start making small changes to help your baby go from:
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