Vintage alarm clock on cute asian child girl sleeping in the bed background It’s Not Just You 25/03/13

The lost hour…

​Spring is nearly upon us… or at least it should be. I for one am OVER this whole ongoing winter malarky – the snow flurries, the hail, sleet, wind and rain, the minus temperatures. I find myself staring longingly at my strappy sandals and scowling at socks and boots. The park across the road is a quagmire. Getting out the house in the mornings takes hours, due to the sheer volume of clothing the 3 wee ones need just to get through another freezing day. Winter, you are no longer welcome here – please GO AWAY.

So – winter scolded, socks almost banished to the back of the wardrobe, scarves having a last hurrah before going into hibernation for next Autumn – we can finally look forward to some milder weather, the daffodils nodding their golden heads in the breeze…. bliss! And then we are faced with the sudden realisation that THE CLOCKS ARE CHANGING. Aaaargh! Now, pre-kids, this was nothing more than an occasional resetting-all-clocks-in-the-house-pain-in-the-butt, with the benefit of an extra hour in bed once a year. Post-kids, it is a whole new ball game. Children, as we well know, don’t do clocks, time, or sleeping late, very well at all. So I thought I’d share our adventures in getting through the move to British Summer Time (and back again!)…

Child 1 was always the worst sleeper so most of our experimentation was done on her. So we invested in decent blackout blinds, and they practically changed our life overnight (pardon the pun…). We opted for the portable type, which sit flush to the window with suckers, and boy are they good. It’s more of a faff to put them up and down than roller blinds that you fit to the frame, but there are gaps with rollers and I never felt they were fully up to the job. The suckers on the portables ensure a good fit, which renders the room properly dark. They are a genius product, and we’ve sworn by them for all our kids now. Plus you can take them on holiday – ours come to a caravan park every year too! Blackout binds stop the vagaries of early sun rise and late sunset messing with the small child’s idea of what is day and what is night, so you can keep a 7pm – 7am routine going even in midsummer.

Next in the arsenal of ‘keeping children asleep’ tools is a special kids’ clock, which is a real saviour in our house. They work on the simple premise of ‘stars = night, sun = day’ in a visual form that young children can understand, and you set the clock to the star mode, in which it stays until a designated time in the morning when the sun pops up on the display, signalling “Time to get up!”. This won’t work so well with really weeny ones, who don’t understand yet, but anyone over 2 should manage to grasp the concept and stay in their bed, or at least in their room, until they see the sun come out on the display. Child 1 is 5 and adores her clock and completely allows it to dictate her time to rise. Child 2 is still in a cot and sleeps quite well, but we will definitely have to invest in another for him when he’s no longer contained by bars!

Another thing we do, with varying degrees of success, is keep the kids up late on the night of the change. ‘Spring forward’, as we’re about to face, is certainly easier to swallow with kiddies than the ‘Fall back’ extra hour of autumn. So we keep them up for an hour or more extra so they go to bed properly tired, and (so the theory goes) sleep a little later in the morning. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes we get an amazing result – an actual, real, lie in!

So, dealing with the clocks changing needn’t be too terrible – a blackout blind, a special clock, and a late night should just about do it. But to be really really sure of a decent night’s sleep, do as I do and hit the sack at 8pm that night. Sad, I know, but sometimes you’ve just gotta do what you can to get through. And I for one need my beauty sleep, even if the 3 small people I share my life with don’t…

Good luck everybody!

Written by guest blogger Treading Water Mum

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