In the early hours of tomorrow morning, the clocks change in the UK. We turn the time back an hour, signalling the end of British Summer Time (BST).
As the parent of any child knows, this time change doesn’t register in the consciousness of children, in as much as they don’t really realise it happens – life carries on as normal. While many people look forward to this change as it’s an extra hour in bed, parents of children on the spectrum dread it, as this seemingly small change can have a profound effect on our children.
Yes, in theory it’s an extra hour in bed, but the kids don’t know that and when you’re hardly having any sleep anyway, it’s either a real missed opportunity for 60 minutes with your eyes closed, or you’re in the camp that thinks, “oh well, I wasn’t sleeping anyway!” Instead of being awake at 5am, I’ll probably be awake at 4. Great. An extra hour of kids’ TV!
Tink is a very routine creature when she gets up in the morning. Regardless of the time, she’ll demand milk, then breakfast and then to get dressed – in that order and in quick succession. This means that she could be up and ready to face the day by 4.30am. She won’t understand that it’s far too early to be eating breakfast and she’ll scream until she gets it.
This then means that she’ll be hungry and demanding lunch at around 9am. Brilliant. I can give her some toast, but if she thinks it’s lunchtime, she’ll then demand crisps, a dried fruit stick and a fruit puree pot, as is standard lunch routine. So, lunch is done and dusted before 10am.
Of course, this has a knock-on effect all day. She’ll probably keep demanding food at strange times. And she’s relentless when she’s demanding. But she won’t eat healthy things like fruit, oh no. So it will be biscuits and chocolate all day – mum of the year award to me!!
And then there’s bedtime. Who knows how that will go. Currently, if she doesn’t fall asleep in the day, she’ll go to bed at around 7 – 7.30pm. But tomorrow is an unknown entity and if she does get up at stupid o’clock, she’ll be tired a lot earlier. So we have to decide earlier in the day to either try to make her nap a little, or to try to keep her awake later when she does get tired. She’s also started linking ‘dark’ to ‘bedtime’, so the darker nights may make her think it’s time for bed when really it’s only early.
We get off quite lightly really though. I am sure there are families out there who really struggle when there are changes to routines. How does the clock change affect you?