Adjusting Your Child's Sleep for Daylight Saving
It’s that time of year again! Fall brings us lots of seasonal joys like pumpkin spice, cozy sweaters, colorful leaves, and cooler weather, and the not so anticipated… time change.
On November 6 at 2:00am, our clocks will fall back one hour. While some enjoy one “extra” glorious hour of sleep, others will be starting their days an hour earlier, specifically those with children. Unfortunately, our internal clocks don’t naturally shift along with the physical clocks time. Children will continue waking at their normal time, only now it’s an hour early. For parents, this can be rough, but there are some things you can do besides filling that coffee mug full to the brim for the second time.
Follow these 4 tips and tackle time change with confidence this year:
1. Make a Plan Beforehand.
Four days before (or up to one week before) the time change, begin shifting your schedule (naps, bedtime, and all meal times) later by 15-minutes each day. So, on Sunday November 6, when your clocks fall back, you’ll already be at the new adjusted time! This schedule is especially helpful for babies & toddlers, but will help families of all ages adjust a bit more easily. Check out the example bedtime schedule!
2. Stick to your Normal Routines.
Once time has changed, meals, naps, quiet times, snacks, and bedtimes, all should continue occurring at their normal time. Avoid giving in to the early morning wakings and stick to your normal wake-up time. Children respond well to consistency & routine. The closer you stick to your normal routine the easier and more quickly they will be able to adjust.
3. Exposure to Light.
Our bodies naturally respond to light, it’s what helps keep our internal clocks on track. Use light to help you and your kids adjust. Our natural tendency is to dim lights when we wake up, but I challenge you to turn on lights as soon as you wake in the morning and get outside for at least 15 minutes in the morning and afternoon (or both!). Evenings are darker much earlier so, keep lights on longer and begin dimming or have less lights on after dinner, when it is time to start winding down for bed.
4. What to Expect.
Planning ahead does help you and your child ease into the time change, but it doesn’t mean your week will be without some hiccups. Change is hard on everyone. Expect some tantrums or some extra crankiness as their little bodies adjust. While frustrating, all of it is normal. Stay consistent with your routine and offer some extra quiet times when needed. Most children will adjust in few days or up to a week. With these tips at hand, I know you will be able to power through this time change with confidence like never before. You’ve got this, Mama!
**Keep in mind; children currently struggling with sleep may have more difficulty adjusting to the time change. At times like these, it can be helpful to talk it out with a sleep consultant and that is exactly why I am here! Contact me for a free 15-minute Introductory call and I will help your family get the sleep you need!