As we approach the end of daylight savings time and I think about getting an extra hour of sleep I get VERY excited. Then I remember I have 3 kids and they don’t plan on staying in bed that extra hour. Many parents, myself included, hate the idea of a change in their children’s schedule. Here are a few tips to help your family make a smooth transition into the new schedule.
Slowly shift your child’s schedule:
A few weeks before daylight savings time ends start shifting your child’s schedule by 15-minute increments. The first night keep your child awake 15 minutes later than normal. Make sure you also encourage your child to sleep 15 minutes later in the morning. If he decides to naturally sleep in later just let him sleep. If he still wakes at his normal time then leave him in his crib for those extra 15 minutes so he gets used to the feeling of the new wake up time. For the next few weeks continue to shift his schedule by 15 minutes every few days. By the time we change the clocks, he should be going to bed about an hour later and waking up an hour later.
Shift his daytime schedule as well:
It is important that as you shift his bedtime and wake up time you also shift his feeding and nap schedule. Follow the same 15-minute shift during the day. On the first day, he should eat 15 minutes later and nap 15 minutes later. Every time you shift his bedtime/wake up time make sure to shift his daytime schedule as well. By the time daylight savings time ends you should be completely adjusted!
If you have a toddler try an “Ok To Wake” clock:
If your child is no longer in a crib you might find that you put him down 15 minutes later but he still comes to find you at the same time in the morning. Try introducing an “Ok To Wake” clock. This is a clock that changes color at a preset time. Teach your toddler or preschooler that he should not get out of bed until his clock changes color. Then each time you shift bedtime 15 minutes later make sure to set his clock to change color 15 minutes later as well.
If you find your child fighting the changes, or it is the day before the clocks change and you haven’t done anything, don’t worry! Many kids have a hard time adjusting to the clock change until after it has happened. This is because their bodies will adjust easier if social cues, feeding schedules, and daycare start times fall in-line with the new schedule. If you find yourself in this situation just slowly start shifting your child’s schedule 15 minutes later every few nights after the time change.
If you find yourself still struggling with your child’s schedule after the time change please reach out for help! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!