If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen I have just spent a (very long) week getting Daisy to stop climbing in with us and sleep in her own bed all night. It wasn’t pretty and involved some serious tantrums at 3am (her not me), a lot of coffee and some serious determination, but by the end of the week we had cracked it! So you can imagine the fear that then shot through me when I realised the clocks were going back just a week later.
Gone are the days when it meant an extra hour in bed, these days daylight saving is as scary as Halloween. But bed experts Happy Beds challenged me to see if I could get through last weekend’s hour change and keep Daisy’s sleep undisturbed and naturally I accepted (I do love a challenge). So I thought I would share the tips, or rather the tactics, I deployed when we went head to head with our two year old this weekend…
Make Bedtime Later
Before the hour change, the battle to get Daisy to sleep was very real. Each time we were putting her in her bed she would get out of it or protest that she needed water, a wee or another bedtime story – basically anything to prolong the process.
Show me a mummy that doesn’t look forward to bedtime and I’ll show you pigs that fly. The mere idea of keeping Daisy up longer than was necessary felt like torture last week and I had my doubts but it did prove beneficial. After she had started staying in her own bed I decided to ‘reward’ her for being such a good girl and let her stay up a little bit longer each evening (5/10 minutes each night) without her realising it was in preparation for the hour change – it’s both amazing and frightening how cunning I have become these days.
By Saturday night rather than keep her up a whole hour later, and pray she would sleep in later, gently making her bedtime later over the course of a week meant she didn’t even notice the slightly later bedtime and was happy to go to bed.
To keep everything consistent I shifted her entire routine last week and that included her meal times too. Obviously there is nothing worse than a whiny, hangry toddler so I was careful to do this very gradually again by 10/15 minutes a day. When she woke up early on Sunday we kept to her normal milk and breakfast time so as not to confuse her or encourage the day to start earlier.
Likewise, I have been trying to do a bath most nights to help to keep her going that little bit longer but while also calming her down. Over the past few months I’ve amassed an arsenal of sleep-inducing bath time products and I swear by the Epsoak Kids Epsom salts that is infused with lavender, a helpful sleep aid, to help settle her.
Keep Busy In The Morning
Three days a week Daisy is at nursery and when she comes home she is often exhausted from a day of playing and she tends to sleep better. So, in the lead up to last weekend on the days when I’ve been off work, I have been keen to maintain that momentum. From the moment we get up we are on the go. I don’t particularly cope well being stuck indoors all day at the best of times anyway so I like to have something planned like the Farm or a walk into the town we live in to go to the library. It didn’t have to be anything major just enough to keep her stimulated. Then in the afternoons we start to wind down back at home either watching a film or drawing. This has helped to keep her going a little bit longer each night. Naps only really occur in the car these days so I have made sure I’ve not been in the car in the late afternoon to avoid a risky danger nap.
Don’t Get Caught Up On The Old Time
Aside from the oven and my watch, I can honestly say there wasn’t a device in the house that displayed the ‘old time’ so we woke up on Sunday having already mentally adapted to the new time. I’m very much of the attitude you should look forward, not back and constantly harping back to what the time it would have been is just confusing for everyone. We did the same when we went on holiday last year to Greece and altered Daisy’s routine to the local time rather than constantly referring back to UK time.
In spite of our best efforts adjusting routines and given our tumultuous adventures with sleep and Daisy, the reality was we went to bed on Saturday half expecting her to wake up early so we weren’t surprised when she did. We were just happy that she had gone down without a fight, stayed in her own bed all night again and that even though it was earlier than usual, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
…And Remember, It Won’t Be Forever!
Sleepless nights and early mornings are the worst, and it’s so easy to despair and want to give in after relentless nights spent up battling with a stubborn baby/toddler, but I’ve learnt with Daisy if I’m determined enough it does only take a matter of days to implement a new routine. From giving up dummies, potty training to sleeping in her own bed all night, each new hurdle we have come up against, although torturous at the time, has been short lived. This post comes 4 days after the clocks went back and while it hasn’t been necessarily plain sailing, Daisy is back to waking us up at the normal time which is a vast improvement on the initial 5:30am wake up call we got on Sunday.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.