Daylight savings is coming up on Sunday, March 11th. It’s spring so we move our clocks forward one hour and “lose” an extra hour at night. Even just an hour change can be a disruption in your child’s (*and yours!) sleep.
This never comes soon enough for me though it can make it temporarily a little harder to get up in the morning since it’s darker. These simple tips for babies (6 months and older), toddlers and kids will help you stay on track with good sleep habits. Give your children a few days to settle in to the new time. After they adjust to the new clock, the only thing left to do is get outside and enjoy that extra hour of light at night.
This is important to understand because it is already hard to find the right nap or bedtime and with the time change, it can be even trickier. Effectively, the time change is like jet lag if you were to travel one time zone ahead of you. Because our internal clocks are “set” to be asleep or awake at certain times, adjusting your schedule on the day before and the morning of the time change can help immensely. But, this means you must change your whole routine, not just sleep times. There are many things that cue your baby into a schedule or routine such as the sunrise, meal times, the time you take her out for a walk, and so on. So, if your baby wakes at 6 a.m. and her nap is usually at 8 a.m., on the day before the time change, put her down a little early.
KEY: Change all your daytime routines to be a little earlier, not just sleep.
1. On Saturday try to do everything 15 minutes or so earlier. Since most kids won’t want to go to bed a whole hour early (and may not be ready) then put them to bed on Saturday night (3/10) 30 minutes early, slightly shortening their day.
2. Spring your clocks forward an hour when you go to bed or if you want your kids to think they’re staying up late, set them before they go to bed.
3. Wake up with your child(ren) at the usual time on Sunday morning (3/11). Here is where they will lose a little sleep but it sets them up for going to bed at the regular time to start the week right. For babies and toddlers just let them nap a little longer if they need it but not too long or they may not go to sleep easily in the evening.
4. Follow the clock for naps and bedtime from here forward. It can take a few days for your child to fully adjust, so be patient and consistent.
Tip: If you don’t already have them, try room-darkening blinds/curtains at night.
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