Are you ready for daylight savings time?
It’s that time of year where we set our clocks forward and LOSE an hour of sleep. Many consider this to be the worse of the two-time changes, due to the lost hour of sleep. In fact there is some truth to the impact this has – it’s reported that more car accidents and heart attacks occur as well as a drop in productivity at work. If I had my way, daylight savings time wouldn’t exist!
How will this affect your baby or toddler?
You may be wondering how this will affect your child and what to do with that “lost” hour. Are naps going to be a mess? How will the extended sunlight effect bedtime? These are all GREAT questions….and I’m here to guide you through this change.
Adjusting Sleep Schedules
My advice is to “split the difference.” When the clock moves forward an hour, take a few days (3 to be exact) to slowly help your child’s body adjust to the time change. I suggest a 30-minute adjustment for naps and bedtime, until you reach the 4th day.
If your child typically has two naps a day, such as 9:30 AM and 2:00 PM, and goes to bed at 7:00 PM, for three days after the time change you will move their naps to 10:00 AM (feels like 9:00 am) and 2:30 PM (feels like 1:30 PM). Bedtime will move to 7:30 PM, which feels like 6:30 PM.
Additionally, try to keep your child on a similar morning schedule. If you child generally gets up at 7:00 AM, wake them up at 7:30 AM (feels like 6:30 AM), during the 3 day adjustment period.
On DAY 4 after the time change, your child should be well adjusted and you can move their naps and bedtime back to the same time as before the time change took place.
For some babies, this adjustment may be a bit harder and you may see them become over tired during the day. If this is the case, try a slower version of this transition. Adjust their nap and bedtime by 15-minutes every 2-3 days. This process should take you 6-9 days. Remember to keep a close eye on this process and adjust naps and bedtime carefully and with consistency.
Will it take longer for my child to fall asleep?
You may find that your child is taking longer to fall asleep for naps and at bedtime. You are technically putting them to sleep 30 minutes before they are used to going down. What can you do about this? There’s nothing to do, this is expected and within a week, should resolve on its own.
Consistency, Consistency, Consistency……remember to NOT start bending the rules. This is a temporary situation and within a few days, things should be back to normal.
Keep It Dark
A dark sleeping environment is crucial for your child. In addition to better naps during the day, darkness will also stop those obnoxious 5:00 AM wake-ups.
With the sun staying up an hour later, it may be tempting to keep your child up longer, until it gets dark. My suggestion it to RESIST this temptation. Keeping your baby or toddler up too late will cause over tiredness, which comes with a lot of crying and protesting.
If you have already have a good set of blackout curtains, I suggest you pick some up before Sunday and the sun is still up at bedtime. If you’re looking for a suggestion on brand, just ask!