Managing daylight savings time and your child’s sleep!
It’s time to SPRING FORWARD!
On March 13th, in most parts of the U.S, daylight savings time begins! This means you will move your clocks FORWARD one hour (example: so instead of it being 7am right now, it would be 8am). This means that the sun will set later and we get longer days (yay); but it also can mean some sleep changes for your toddler or infant!
Read on for daylight savings tips, tricks, and suggestions on managing this transition!
When approaching the transition; you have two options:
- DO NOTHING.
- Or ADJUST.
Put your child to bed at the same time regardless of time change and put them down for naps and bedtime by the clock (even on time change day) versus making fancy adjustments. I do like this method for kids who are more amenable to go-with-the-flow tactics. I always tell my families; your kid may surprise you! Just like we adjust to time change, they do adjust also.
Adjust bed time the night time changes:
You can put your child to bed 30 min-60 min earlier than normal to adjust for the change. Make sure to be consistent with the bedtime routine so it primes them for sleep. The day the time changes, approach naps and bedtime by the clock (the new time).
Adjust bed time gradually over the next week:
I feel like this method involves a lot of thought process for a situation where I know kids (and us will adjust). However, this method is if you feel you want something more structured or your child will not handle a cold-turkey approach. For the four days leading up to time change (Start on March 9th), move up the sleep time 15 minutes-30 minutes.
If your child is on two or more naps, adjust by 15-min increments. If on one nap, adjust by 30 minutes.
So for an 8-month old, if they normally sleep at 7pm, move bed time to 6:45pm on March 9th, 6:30pm on March 10th, 6:15pm, On March 11th, and 6pm on March 12th. You would approach naps accordingly as well (15 min earlier).
Whatever method you choose for Daylight Savings, here are some other tips to remember:
- Get outside into sunlight during the day (if weather permits). This will allow our body’s natural circadian rhythm to reset and the physical activity always allows for better sleep. This will be most important the day of time change (March 13th) and for the days that follow.
- Utilize blackout curtains for night-time sleep. This can help when time changes because it will now be lighter later, which may mean some dissent with sleep time. Darken the room if you have a child who is sensitive to light for sleep!
- Keep your bedtime routine and daily routine consistent. Continue to do the routines you normally do to encourage a rhythm that promotes sleep. THEY WILL adjust.
- For early morning wake-ups, listen to this podcast episode. I use the same principles for time change!
- Be patient and understand that just like us, some adjustment is needed. I don’t know about you; but time change makes me feel SLEEPY and CRANKY! Even when I know it’s normal, I feel off for one day. Respect this for your kids too and be patient with them and yourself!