3 October 2023

Daylight saving: parents' nightmare or sleeping schedule saviour?

| Claire Fenwicke
Join the conversation
child sleeping on the ground

Throwing all the toys into the bed and sleeping on the ground could be one way to improve sleep when daylight savings changes – but I’m not convinced. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

There’s one thing that strikes fear in my heart and that’s guaranteed to send parenting Facebook groups into a questioning frenzy: daylight saving changes.

After spending the past six months trying to get young children into a good sleeping routine, there’s nothing like a turning of the clocks to undo all your hard work.

Especially when you yourself will be trying to adjust to the altered time as well.

At 2 am on Sunday 1 October, the time will magically jump forward one hour on our phones (and stubbornly stay put on microwaves, ovens and wall clocks). It can be both a blessing and a curse.

When my kids were four months old and refusing to sleep past 4:30 am, it was a blessing. Come October, I could at least tell myself “well, now they’re waking up at 5:30 am, that’s much more reasonable!” while sobbing to other overtired parents.

But this time round they’re three, and will be very aware that when I send them to bed at 7:30 pm (which used to be 6:30 pm just a mere day before) that the sun will still be up and the older kids will be gallivanting on the streets.

READ ALSO Would you commute on an e-scooter? The government is holding a ‘Street Party’ so you can find out

Everyone seems to have a different method to combat this hour-change to our body clocks with varying degrees of success.

I know my mother used to start putting my sister and I to bed earlier or later in the two weeks leading up to a daylight saving change (depending on the time of year), in 15-minute increments until the change couldn’t even be noticed.

I fear I do not have the brain space to think this far ahead – my kids have been going to bed later and later in the lead-up to the change.

But when you hear the horror stories of toddlers doing some twilight zone-level mathematics and somehow throwing out their routine by three hours (because of course they can), it’s hard not to think I should have done something by now.

Some parents’ groups suggest my mother’s method of nudging bed/nap/eating times ever so slightly in the lead up, while others tout the benefits of black out curtains, throwing open the shades in the morning to drench their kids with sunshine and help their circadian rhythm adjust.

Meanwhile there are those of us who just say ‘bugger it’ and go with the flow, putting them to bed at the new time and dealing with the consequences.

READ ALSO Breastfeeding employee ‘indirectly discriminated’ against by Tuggeranong KFC franchise owner

Let’s face it, with kids, despite your best efforts, everything could turn topsy-turvy anyway.

So while daylight saving changes may lead you to read the fabulous Go The F**k to Sleep picture book more often than not, I guess we can all take comfort in the fact that there are many of us in the same boat.

All the while shaking our fists at those Queenslanders who don’t have to deal with this at all.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.