Daylight Savings Time for Toddlers – Kveller
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Daylight Savings Time for Toddlers

Daylight savings time (DST) ends on Saturday night (or Sunday morning, if you want to get all technical). In the fall, we set our clocks back by one hour, ostensibly giving us extra time on Sunday to rake the leaves or play with the kids or get an early start on our Hanukkah shopping (OY!).

In my case, I’m likely going to spend that extra hour trying not to drool into my coffee while feigning interest in the latest adventures of Baby Doll Who Wears a Tank Top and Drives a Minivan. (I much prefer playing Narcoleptic Baby, but the girls didn’t seem so interested.)

Daylight savings isn’t such a big deal for those of you who either don’t have kids, or have kids that are old enough to pour their own cereal and turn on the Sunday morning cartoons by themselves. If you’re like me, however, with two under 4, Sunday morning is going to, well, suck. That barely-tolerable 6 AM wake-up from your little ankle biter will become an absolutely intolerable 5 AM wake-up call, and having woken up too early, your child will be a complete mess by about 5 PM. But if you take pity on her little exhausted soul and put her to bed too early, you’ll pay for it. The next morning you’ll find yourself reading that damn Tu Bishvat board book over and over as you watch the sunrise.

Well, I’ve decided this year is going to be different. There has got to be some way to prepare the girls, some simple steps I can take that will get their sleep schedules back on track quickly. I’ve done a little research, and here’s what I’ve found:

Option #1: Start to adapt their schedule a few days before DST ends, in hopes that by the time the clock change rolls around, they’ll already be on board. Most websites suggest putting the babies to bed about 15 minutes later each night, with the hopes that they will then wake up 15 minutes later in the morning. I have two concerns about this option: first, it assumes a level of organization and planning that I’m not currently capable of, and second, it rests entirely on the assumption that later bedtime = later wake-up. In my experience, later bedtime = early wake-up, fussy baby, grumpy parents and an inevitably screwed up nap. Not exactly the outcome I was hoping for.

Option #2: Do nothing until after the time change. Put them to bed at the usual time (according to the clock) and just deal with the fact that the last hour or two of the day (when the clock says it’s 7 pm, but their little bodies think it’s 8 pm) will be a complete shitshow. There will be tantrums and tears, and the girls probably won’t be doing so well, either. Try to distract them as much as possible, even if it means digging out the damn Barbie. Rip that daylight savings band-aid right off, and hope that the wound has healed by morning. Of course, the main problem with this plan is that it involves keeping the girls up late, which, as I mentioned earlier, is bound to end poorly.

Option #3: Ignore the whole mess until the last possible moment. Purchase extra beer (or chocolate, or whatever your preferred coping food may be) on Saturday night. Pay no attention to the clocks, except the one on the coffee maker, which will be checked and re-checked. Bribe husband (with money, sex, folded laundry, home-cooked meal, WHATEVER IT TAKES) to pull wake-up duty on Sunday morning. If your bribery fails, consume shocking amounts of coffee, knowing that you will be able to sleep tonight no matter what, thanks to the beer and chocolate you bought (and the girls who had you up at 5 am). Thank God (again) for daycare on Monday morning.

In all honesty, it’s hard to know which option makes the most sense. But the first two don’t make any mention of coffee or beer, so I suspect we’ll be going with #3. Oh, and if any of you have better ideas, I would really love to hear them!

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