Daylight Savings – How do I help my child “Spring Forward”
Have you ever heard anyone say “I just love daylight savings!”? I KNOW!!! It wreaks havoc on our little one’s sleep schedules. Some say to just ignore it and clocks will just adjust. But you know what? There is a reason that accidents increase by 8% the day after the clock change.. We all just lost an hour of sleep at the same time and many were already carrying a critical sleep debt.
So how can you lessen the load on your little one this year? How about “split the difference”
You can start on Saturday to give a little more transition time before Monday especially for children that go to school or daycare. Wake the kids about 15-30 minutes earlier then their normal wake time. This will start the day off to moving everything up by that amount, with a goal of getting your child in the bed 30 minutes early. On Sunday the sun will rise an hour earlier then what we are adjusted to, and if you haven’t blacked out the room the light could wake the kids earlier than usual, which isn’t necessarily bad because of the hour loss that we need to absorb, but you could be dealing with crankiness all day.
On Sunday you can let them sleep in but if possible I would only do it by about 30 minutes (which is actually 30 minutes earlier then they would usually wake), this 2 days will not complete the adjustment but it will lessen the sleep deprivation effects. If you don’t start to implement early and choose to let your little one sleep to their usually wake up time on Sunday which was 7am, they will now be getting up at 8am (at least for the first day).
If she usually takes a morning nap around 10:00, you will want to adjust this to 10:30 for the first three days after the time change. It will be a bit earlier than your child’s normal nap time, but not so much that it will cause much damage to her schedule. Do the same for all other naps. Let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7pm. After the time change has occurred I recommend putting them to bed at 7:30pm for the first three days following the time change. (This will FEEL like 6:30pm to your child.) On the fourth night, just get in line with the new time so your child is back to going to bed when the clock says 7pm. Adjust naps to the correct time on day 4, as well.
An important thing to note here is that if you have a child who is sensitive to any changes in his bedtime or nap times, then you will want to split the difference in quarters instead of in half. Instead of adjusting his schedule 30mins later to start with, you’ll want to start out with a 15min time jump. Or if you think your child could handle the full time change at once, you want to be conscious of the hour they’re going to bed. At least with “springing forward” you don’t have to worry about your child being overtired at bedtime, but you still need to watch how early you put him to bed so that he doesn’t stall, cry, or play around too much at bedtime because he’s just not ready to go to bed an hour earlier than normal. The best part of the Spring Daylight Savings Time is that if you normally have an early riser you will now gain an hour in the morning! Early morning wakings should not be an issue, but if they are for some reason just make sure they are still sleeping the same amount of hours overnight as they were before the change. That might mean that you need to adjust bedtime for a while until your child’s morning wake time goes back to normal. Give it time and know that your child will get back on schedule within a week, possibly two.
Good luck and Get some rest 🙂