Managing the Time Change

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Categories Parenting, Routines, SleepTags 4 Comments

(This post was originally published on our local Mothers of Multiples blog site.)

As a mother of twins, my number one piece of advice to new MoMs is to get their babies on a schedule…the SAME schedule. It was that piece of advice that saved my sanity when my girls were infants, and I’ve continued to be very schedule-oriented since.

With the clock being so central to our lives, the thought of the time change twice a year sends my stomach into knots.  While I dread changing our clock every few months, [KNOCK ON WOOD!] our girls have always adjusted to the new time within a few days, and it’s never been quite as bad as I rehearsed in my mind.

I am posting an excerpt I read from a sleep specialist, as to how to manage your children’s schedules through the time change.


Managing the Time Change: A day-by-day plan for transitioning your child's schedule to account for Daylight Saving changes.

In the spring, the clock is moved forward an hour, so we lose an hour.  For the adult and teenager, this typically means losing an hour of sleep.  When we get up on Monday morning at 6am, we feel tired because  our internal clock says it is 5am.  It can take some individuals weeks to feel rested again in the morning.

Although the time change officially takes place on a Saturday night, for the child it actually begins the next evening on Sunday.  The parent should stick with the “old time” all day Sunday for the child’s nap.  Then on Sunday evening, the parent should move to the “new time”.

There is good news for the parents of young children who wake too early: often the younger child starts sleeping later in the morning.  For the child who has been going to bed at 7pm and rising at 6am, this is the perfect opportunity for the parent to change the child’s sleep schedule if a 7am rise time is desired. The parent must be ready, however, right from the first night after the time change: The parent must consistently put the child to bed at 8pm, make the child’s room very dark, and add white noise to the room (if there is a significant noise in the home in the morning from others getting up).

When a child has been going to bed at 8pm and rising at 7am, he is likely to appear wide awake on Sunday night after the time change at 8pm because his internal clock says it is only 7pm.  The parent should consider allowing him to stay up until 8:45 – 9pm for 1 to 3 nights.  During this time, the parent may have to awaken the child in the morning between 7 and 7:30am if the parent wants the child to start going to bed at night again by 8pm.

Most children are back on schedule within 10 – 14 days if the parent is consistent.


What are your tips and tricks for managing the time change?  Wishing us all a smooth transition over the next week!!!

MandyE is mom to six-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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Governed by Clocks

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Robin Williams is credited with saying, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'” Last weekend’s “spring forward” time change here in the US was a major party pooper. We groaned at the prospect of a 23-hour day as we dutifully turned all our clocks forward an hour.

We’re a routine-bound household. Between my 40-hour work week, my husband’s much longer and less predictable hours — nights without a text or two from work between midnight and 5:00 am are a rarity — and our daughters’ school schedule, there’s not much wiggle room. We expect J and M to be under their covers at 8:00 pm precisely; “Eight zero zero” was the first time they learned to read on a digital clock. We don’t vary bedtime on weekends, staying up past 8:00 only for very special occasions, like the first night that the grandparents arrive for a visit.

The hour time change pushes the girls’ wakeup time from the horrendous 5:45 am to what our bodies tell us is the even uglier time of 4:45. On Friday and Saturday, we shifted lights out to 7:30 pm to prepare for the switch, but wakeup time on Monday morning was brutal. Poor M reported that there was “something wrong with [her] eyes,” as she struggled to start her day. J just wrapped her blankie around herself and stared at the floor as she waited for her brain to switch on.

Things weren’t much better for the girlies the rest of the week, and waking up wasn’t any easier for me. I may have hit the snooze button a time or 5 this morning.

The logic behind Daylight Saving makes some sense: get an extra hour of evening sunshine. The problem at our house, though, is that the morning is what sets the mood for the day. If we start our day grumpy, tired, and out of sorts, we’re not too likely to think much of the afternoon sun. In addition, we live in Texas, where summers get very hot, so Daylight Saving actually means less outdoor time at the end of the day.

When J and M were younger, I had an elaborate plan to adjust their bodies’ clocks, 15 minutes per day over 4 days. This year, we threw them in the deep end, and we’re all paying for it.

Good night. My clock says it’s bedtime even though my body doesn’t.

What are your feelings on Daylight Saving? Do you have any techniques for making the switch easier on your kids? Do they even notice?

Sadia, her husband and their 5-year-old twin girls live in El Paso, TX. He is a soldier, she a software geek, and they first graders.

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