October 27, 2019

Isn’t it amazing how moving the clocks back just one hour has the potential to throw your kids’ routines into a bit of chaos? The good news…it doesn’t have to. We can do several things ahead of the time change to prepare our children for success. Read on for tips to make this transition as smooth as possible.

 

Tips for everyone

  • Spend lots of time outdoors: Physical activity will help ensure that your little one is tuckered out in time for naps and bedtime. Natural light is one of the best ways to reset our internal clocks.

 

  • Be sure your child’s sleep environment is ideal: Cave-like darkness and white noise will make a big difference. Consider using an “OK to Wake” clock for your children (toddler age and older) that lights up when it is time for their day to start.

 

  • Keep them well rested: With any change to schedule or routine, the more rested your children can be leading up to the change, the more successful the transition will be. Spend time now getting naps and night sleep in order so they are not overtired. A well-rested sleeper will handle this transition much more smoothly than an overtired child!

 

  • Keep the routine consistent: Continue with your calm and predictable bedtime routine so your child knows exactly what to expect. In other words, Sunday, November 3rd, is probably not the night to have your kids stay up late or invite guests over to the house. Instead, stick to your typical schedule as much as you can.

 

  • Lighting: For the first week or two after Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends, keep the lights a bit dimmer for the first hour or so after waking in the morning and the lights a bit brighter for the last hour of the day. This will help reset your child’s internal clock to the new time.

Start Preparing a Week Ahead….

  • Start the transition to the new time several days before the end of DST. Shift the bedtime later by 10 minutes each day leading up to November 3rd. Be sure to adjust the entire day (naps, bedtime, and meals) and not just sleep times.  By Sunday, your child’s body will already be on the way to adjusting to the new time.  

 

  • If bedtime is usually at 7 pm, try this schedule the week before:

 

Tuesday 7:10 pm bedtime

Wednesday 7:20pm bedtime

Thursday 7:30 pm bedtime

Friday 7:40 pm bedtime

Saturday 7:50 pm bedtime

Sunday 7 pm bedtime (adjusted to the new time)

Or go cold turkey….

  • For some children, there is no need to prepare your child for the time change. Starting Sunday morning, move all meals, bathtime and sleep to the new time. Within a few days his body will adjust.

Tips for making Sunday as smooth as possible

  • Adjust the entire day to the new time including wake-up, naps, bedtime, and meals.

 

  • If your child wakes early, do your best to keep him in his crib or bed until his regular wake-time. Delaying his exposure to natural light will help reset his internal clock.

 

  • If necessary, you can meet halfway for naptime. For example, if your little one naps at 9 am, you can put him down at 8:30 am for the first day while he adjusts to the new time. The rest of the day will follow suit.

 

Keep the course, have realistic expectations, and give it time

  • If your children easily adjust to the time change, you may be those lucky parents who get an extra hour of sleep. Most of you, however, should expect that your children will wake for the day up to an hour earlier until their bodies have adjusted to the new time.  It can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks for your little one’s internal clock to reset to the new time.  As with all sleep training, the most important thing is for Mom and Dad to approach this transition with patience, confidence, and consistency. 

 

 

 

Renee Wasserman, PT, MPH, founder of SleepyHead Solutions, is a Family Sleep Institute certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant. She offers many services including phone, email, Skype/FaceTime, and in person consultations to solve your child’s sleep challenges.  Please email her at renee@sleepyheadsolutions.com with any questions. You can find out more information at www.sleepyheadsolutions.com and www.facebook.com/sleepyheadsolutions.





Also in Our Blog

Swaddle Transitioning: Why, When, and How
Swaddle Transitioning: Why, When, and How

September 21, 2020

For a new baby, using a swaddle means waking up happy and well-rested after a comfortable night’s sleep. But when they outgrow the swaddle, they can experience difficulty sleeping without a familiar form of comfort. Here's everything to know about how, when, and why to transition your baby out of a swaddle and into a Magic Sleepsuit!

Continue Reading

When Will My Baby Sleep Through the Night?
When Will My Baby Sleep Through the Night?

September 14, 2020

If you’re reading this in the early morning while trying to rock your baby back to sleep, then parents: we stand with you. We’ve all been there, trying to figure out when our restless munchkins will let us catch a few more Z’s. While you can’t predict the exact timing of when your baby’s schedule will normalize, it can be helpful to get a sense of how long most babies sleep, why they wake up, and how to help them.

Continue Reading

5 Steps to Get Your Milk Monster Sleeping Through the Night
5 Steps to Get Your Milk Monster Sleeping Through the Night

July 27, 2020

Do you have a toddler who is still waking for milk overnight or very early in the morning? You are not alone! In my work as a Certified Pediatric Sleep & Potty Training Consultant I’ve worked with many families who are struggling with wake up calls for milk from their toddler or preschooler. Here are five steps you can take to tame your milk monster and reclaim your family’s sleep. 

Continue Reading