Tips for the end of Daylight Savings time
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 our 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 the time change 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 in 15 minutes later. If he decides to naturally sleep in later just let him. 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 and waking up an hour later.
Shift his daytime schedule as well:
It is important that as you shift his bedtime and wakeup 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.
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.
Keep your child well rested:
Any change to our schedule is easier to handle if your child is well rested. If you go into the time change overtired it will end up being a much harder transition on him. Try and lay low for a few days before the time change, maybe skip the sleepovers and any big travel plans!
Be aware of the effects of sunlight and darkness:
Our body’s internal sleep cycles are regulated by the light and dark cycles of the day. This is why we find ourselves getting sleepy as soon as the sun sets and up when the sun rises in the morning. In the days leading up to the time change try and expose your child to natural light during the day and early evening. I also recommend black out curtains to prevent light from reaching his body too early and encourage him to sleep later. In the evenings try dimming the lights to start the quieting down process about an hour before bed.
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 an easier time adjusting to the clock change after it has happened. This is because their bodies will adjust more natural 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.
Most babies will adjust to the change pretty easily if you take it slow and don’t stress! However, if you find yourself struggling with this change, or any change in your baby’s schedule, reach out to me at Nighttime Dreamers to schedule a consult today.
If you need more personalized help please reach out to me!