Kim Davis ~ Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, Babes & Beyond
Spring Daylight Savings is just around the corner and you may be thinking to yourself, “Great, something else that is going to mess up my child’s sleeping schedule”. Clocks may go ahead one hour but by having a game plan ready, the transition into Daylight Savings can be a breeze and you will not see too much craziness with their sleeping and eating schedules. This Daylight Saving time change is the easier of the two!
Sometimes the one hour change can play havoc on your child’s bedtime because their natural rhythms are being challenged with it being lighter outside when it is bedtime. Even though the clock says it is not their normal bedtime, your child still feels like it is their regular time for bed. You will want to make sure your child’s bedroom in conducive to sleep- using black out curtains or blinds for the bright sunshine, using a sound machine to drown out early morning noises and for the toddlers, a wake-up clock to help them know the new time.
For parents wanting an earlier bedtime for their child, this is the perfect time to do so. An earlier bedtime is better than a later one to prevent your child from becoming overtired and struggling to go to sleep. The “early risers” (waking between 5 -6 am) will now be waking at a somewhat more desirable time with the time change.
There are a couple of avenues you can take (depending on your child’s sensitivity to change) so let’s explore those avenues!
1st Avenue: Slow Transition. This avenue will help the time sensitive child gradually adjust to the new time change. By starting a few days before the time change actually occurs you can limit the impact the hour is going to have on your child. If your child’s normal wake time for the day is 6:45am, change it to 6:30am on the first day. Slowly increase the wake time by using 15 minute intervals until to the desired time is achieved. By doing this BEFORE the time change occurs, your child will be already used to the new timing with little disruption.
2nd Avenue: Do Nothing. This avenue would be for a child that is not time sensitive and that you think will be able to handle the time change with ease. For families that are happy with their child’s sleep schedule, simply keep wakeup and bedtime the same using the new adjusted time. You will want to wake your child at their usual time the next morning (Sunday) and carry on the day as you would normally. It may take a few days for your child to adjust but the will.
Some families find that moving their entire day’s activities ahead the one hour also helps. They keep the same routine which in turn helps with sleep cues for your child.
Sunlight is so important for helping regulate the body’s internal clock so make sure you expose you and your child to as much sunlight as possible first thing in the morning.
Be flexible and don’t worry. Your child does not really understand what is going on so the time change can make everyone’s day feel a little “off”. Everyone will adjust in a few days.
Yeah Spring and happy sleeping!!!!
We are always here to help with those bumps in the road so if you are finding that you may need a little extra help, contact Babes & Beyond for a free 20 minute “Get Acquainted” consultation.
We are helping families all over the world get the sleep they need!
Kim Davis -Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant