No one is more freaked out with time changes than Moms and Dads who are at the mercy of their child’s sleep! Second in line are child sleep consultants when we spring forward the clocks! Daylight Savings Time starts in the US and Canada on Sunday, March 10, 2019.
What this means is when we set the clocks forward 1 hour, we’ll be putting our children to bed 1 hour earlier than they are used to and that request isn’t without its challenges. With these Daylight Savings Time tips for parents, you’ll know just how to navigate the change.
The good news is the Spring time change is the easier of the two to navigate and has a lot less impact on sleep. For those with early birds, this is a welcomed change for an extra hour of sleep! (at least temporarily)
Depending on your children’s sleep habits, there are a few options on how you can handle the time change.
If your child is an early bird – waking at 6:00 am or earlier – stay on the same schedule and enjoy the later wake time, at least for a few days. Some children naturally wake early and, in this case, their bodies will naturally adjust back to their earlier wake time within a week or so. In some cases, if your child has been waking unnaturally early, this may help them to transition to a later wake time moving forward.
Given that we are pushing the clock forward, the first few days of the transition may be a little rough at bedtime. If your child normally goes to bed at 7:00 pm, after the time change, according to their body, they are going to sleep at 6:00 pm. This may result in your little one not being tired at bedtime, which can cause bedtime battles and antics. This transition usually takes less than a week so stay patient and use your preferred sleep training method if necessary.
Night Owls & Sensitive Sleepers
For children that are night owls or love to sleep in – 7:00 am or later – the time change will result in an even later wake time. If your child is a sensitive sleeper and doesn’t easily adjust to sleep schedule changes, the time change may push their wake time too late, resulting in missing the optimal sleep windows.
In these two situations, the best way to prepare for the time change is to adjust your child’s wake up time and schedule gradually, by 15 minutes each day leading up to the time change.
Wake your child 15 minutes earlier than their usual time. For example, if your child wakes at 7:00 am normally, wake them at 6:45 am. This will only decrease their night sleep by 15 minutes.
Shift naps and feedings earlier by 15 minutes – if your baby goes down for nap at 12:00 pm, put them down for their nap at 11:45 am on the first day.
Put your child down for bed 15 minutes earlier than usual. A 7:00 pm bedtime, will be 6:45 pm bedtime on the first night.
March 7th, 8th and 9th
Follow the guidelines above for each subsequent day – shifting the entire schedule earlier by 15 minutes each day
Resume your child’s usual schedule, with the same daily wake, nap, feedings and bedtimes as before the time change
If your child is on a good sleep schedule and isn’t too sensitive to sleep changes, you can opt to not make any advanced changes.
If your child’s normal nighttime sleep schedule is 7:00 pm – 7:00 am, wake them at 7:00 am the new time.
I know, I know – you REALLY wanted that extra hour of sleep! This will help your little one to get back on track quickly and be tired enough to settle into nap time and bedtime on the new schedule.
Naturally move your routine (sleep / feeding) to your existing scheduled times. This is a relatively easy transition and the effects of the time change will only be evident for a week at most.
SPRING DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME ADJUSTMENT TIPS:
- Have patience – the time change can have us all off for a few days because our natural rhythms are being altered
- Use the sun to your benefit – exposure to 30 minutes of sun during wake times (specifically early morning and late afternoon) will help to reset internal clocks to the time change.
- Keep the lights dim in the hour prior to bedtime This will help your child to regulate their sleepy hormones and adjust to being sleepier at the new bedtime.
- Avoid playing outside and bright screens (TV, tablet, phone) or bright indoor light during the hour leading to bed.
- Maintain your routines – keep sleep, feeding and other routines consistent, maintaining the same timing, unless noted above
- Create the ideal sleep environment – cool, dark with white noise. With the extended daylight hours, it can be harder to convince little ones that it’s bedtime, especially when the sun is still shining bright at 7pm. More than any other time of year, it is so important to create a cave-like sleep environment for your little ones for both day and nighttime sleep. My favorite solution is the Blackout EZ window covers.
I hope these daylight savings tips are helpful! Have more questions? Join Renee and I on Tuesday night, March 5th at 7:30pm ET for a quickFacebook and Instagram live Q&A about the time change.
IF YOU NEED CUSTOMIZED HELP WITH THIS TRANSITION OR ANY OTHER SLEEP CHALLENGES, CONTACT US.
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