A little history lesson on WHY we even have a time change.
The idea was first introduced by Benjamin Franklin as a way to conserve energy and lessen the use of candles and oil lamps. To be fair, he was joking, his idea was a satirical letter to the editor of the Journal of Paris. In 1985, George Hudson, entomologist, and astronomer in New Zealand revisited the idea as a way to give them more daylight hours to look for insects. The idea was considered in the US again in 1907 and officially started in 1918 By President Roosevelt. This initial change lasted only 7 months, but after World War II, was reinstated, again for the theory that we could be more aligned to daylight, and therefore use less energy in coal, candles, and oil.
Enough about the history, and more about the art
Changing your baby's bedtime and nap time is not an easy feat for most of us. Here are some steps for making a smooth transition into a known time change.
- Start small- A week or more (October 20th-ish) ahead of the anticipated change, start changing their schedule so you can have the baby on the ‘right’ clock.
- For example, if bedtime is usually 8 pm, but needs to be 7 pm, start moving bedtime back by 5-10 minutes each day. Making this incremental change will ensure the baby is ready.
- Be gentle, with yourself and with them. Trying to make yourself go to bed early is hard for an adult and you understand what’s happening. Don’t give up, if it doesn’t go smoothly one night. Just keep going with the process the next day. a process
- Have a routine. Bath, read, cuddle, bed. Keep the house chill and the lights low. No TV, or screens when preparing children for bed.
- This is not just for babies! Do it with your older kids too. As the kids get older and they “can’t sleep”, just help them to just plan on ‘relaxing.’ (Keep the lights low and no-screens. Try an audiobook if they like to listen to something.)
- A color-coded clock can help them know when they can be out of bed and out of the room. (like this one)
#momlife, do it when you can
I say all these tips and I inevitably let daylight saving time sneak up on me (been there done that). So, if that is you, and you realize it is too late to start the week and a half before… Don’t worry. Just start where you are. Gently guide your child into a good bedtime. Don’t try to jump into the hour change right away. That will just be rough on everyone.
Don’t stress about the changes, just adapt.
Give yourself and your family the grace to change over time.
Please let me know if you have any other tips to share with other families.