As parents, the words ‘Daylight Savings’ can send chills of anxiety up our spine. The anticipation of losing an hour of sleep is frightening! Knowing a loss of sleep can result in tired and cranky kids plus our lack of sleep can be a recipe for disaster! Don’t let the fear of a tired household bring down your confidence! We, at Sleepwell Baby, are going to help you conquer the challenges daylight savings has on you, and your child’s sleep so you’ll have a smooth transition as we set our clocks ahead one hour.
As adults, we can speed along the process more easily by switching our clocks and telling ourselves we are on the new time. Our bodies might take a couple of days to adjust, but we can power through it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that easily with children. With children, we need to have a more gentle approach.
Children need a chance to adjust in smaller increments over a longer period of time. You can start by adjusting their naps by 30 minutes. For example, if their nap starts at 9 am, start at 9:30 am instead or if usual nap time is 1 pm, move it to 1:30 pm. Follow the same pattern for bedtime. Stick to this 30 minute time change for three days.
On day 4, move the additional 30 minutes to get them on the correct time. If you are a working family and taking three days to adjust by 30 minutes doesn’t work with your schedule, start the process on Saturday and allow your little one two days to get ready before you wake them for the new schedule Monday morning.
It is important while you are making the adjustments in their schedule to keep your regular routines. The consistency and familiarity of their day will help make the time change less noticeable for the whole family.
In addition to the time adjustment, include exposure to light during their awake times and dark during their sleep times. Doing this will help reset their circadian rhythm (their body’s internal clock) and is a natural way to help move the process along.
Once you are working with the new time zone, be patient with your child as they continue to adjust their days. It can take a good 1 to 2 weeks for them to be fully settled into the correct schedule.
By using these tips, you can move confidently towards Daylight Savings and the new time change on Sunday, March 11th! Here’s to springing ahead!