If you're a mama that lives in any state other than the coveted AZ, then this past week you will have experienced the living nightmare that is daylight saving time...WITH children.
Whoever came up with the bright idea to change the hour of the day (so that we're all miraculously jet-lagged) probably didn't have two kids who are still learning to share a room and get on the same nap schedule, now did they?!
Daylight saving time is that special time of year when all parents get to re-evaluate their lives and question why having kids was a good idea at one point.
I may be getting a little dramatic.
But I'm SO TIRED.
If you're a mama with little ones who are completely out of whack thanks to this little time-change devil, then let's mourn together and use some of these tips to get back in the swing of things:
PatienceOkay, as much as daylight saving time messes with our kids (let's take a moment of silence for all my mamas that have kids waking up at 4:30 a.m.), it won't last forever. Like most things to do with our little ones, they're quick to adjust. This time change will take a little bit of patience to make sure that you don't completely lose your mind, but generally within 1-2 weeks, your child should be back to their normal sleeping schedule, and you will (with a hope and a prayer) be able to sleep through the night again. Try not to be too hard on your kiddos if they're waking up at random hours of the night, or too hard on your husband for choosing to move to CA instead of AZ where this whole nonsense could have been avoided...Okay, not really. But I'm so tired. *sob*
Black-Out CurtainsI'm not being crazy when I say that blocking out the sun makes a difference. The amount of light that's coming through your little one's window in the morning will absolutely trigger them to feel more awake, even if it is at the unholy hour of 5 a.m. So do yourself a favor and pick up some black-out curtains to make sure that they'll sleep for as long as humanly possible without any inkling about the sun shinning outside! Bonus: They work when DST hits us again in spring, and we have to worry about this whole thing again. SMH, mamas.
Earlier DinnerIf you're anything like me and you're scrambling to get dinner on the table around 7 p.m. because your babe has a 6 o'clock witching hour, then you may want to consider getting dinner on the table a little earlier. I'm often guilty of getting some food in my little guy an hour or so before he goes down, and then getting upset when he has a hard time falling asleep right away. The truth is, it's better for their digestion if they eat around 5 or 6 (if they have an 8 o'clock bedtime like my toddler) and will actually help them to fall asleep more quickly. You may have to consider adjusting all your kids meals a little bit here and there to accommodate different nap times or wake times, but making sure they're not being put down too soon after eating will help!
Tire Them OutLetting your kids run around and tire themselves out is always a good idea, but especially when you're trying to make sure they fall asleep and stay asleep (for the love of all that is holy, please stay asleep!). Going to the park, going for walks, or playing games outside are great options if you live in warmer climates, but you can also take them to indoor playgrounds at malls or gyms to help them get their wiggles out too! Just letting your little ones be active will allow them to get the most out of their day so they're not antsy when it's time to get to bed. The hope is it'll make them tired enough to sleep long and hard so they're not up too early.
Tough it Out
If all else fails and you're at the end of your rope, you can absolutely sleep train again. And by sleep train I mean show your kiddos some tough love. This is never easy for parents, because we love our babes and never want them to feel like we don't care that they're sad or scared or upset. But like everything else in parenting, it's up to us to make the tough calls, mamas. So if your 4-month-old needs to sleep in the bassinet in your bathroom while your toddler sleeps in his room and they both cry it out for a few nights, then just try your best to tune it out, and let them soothe themselves back into a schedule. You can go completely cold turkey with no-nonsense during the night, or you can set timers for how long they're crying (I usually do the 15, 30, 45 minutes method) if that makes you feel more comfortable. Some kids will just need a little tough love to get back into that normal sleeping routine after DST.