Daylight savings starts each spring season. It is time to “spring forward” the clocks. It can be a dreaded time for parents of young children because with this, comes an adjustment that does not happen immediately. This is because children tend to be more structured in their bedtime and wake up around the same time each morning and that is why people usually
can see a greater effect on children when the time changes.
However, there are some things you can do to help make the transition to the new
time go a little smoother. My recommendation is to leave your clock alone Saturday night. Wake up Sunday morning, have breakfast, then go around your house and change your clocks. Psychologically, it will feel much better for everyone if you wait until Sunday morning to change the time.
My best advice for children to help them with the change is to split the difference with the old time and the new time.
How does that work?
School Age Children- My best advice for children to help them with the change is to split the difference with the old time and the new time. If you have a child that does not nap and normally goes to bed at 7:00pm, you would put him to bed at 7:30pm on Sunday night,
the first night of the time change. Do this for 3 nights, putting him to bed 30 minutes
later than normal, then on the 4th night put him to bed at the normal time, 7:00pm or whatever is normal bedtime for your child.
Toddlers- If you have a toddler ages one and older, on Sunday the first day of the time change, you would put him for his first nap 30 minutes later than normal.
So, if he naps at 9:30am usually, you would put him down at 10:00am. You would do the same with the afternoon nap if he takes an afternoon nap. For bedtime, if his normal bedtime is 7:00pm, you would put him down at 7:30pm. Do this for 3 nights after the time change and then on the 4th night, put him to bed at 7:00pm and on 5th day move nap times back to normal time. So, if your child naps at 9:30am, put him down at 9:30am and so on with the
rest of the day.
Note for Toddlers/School-aged children: If you have a toddler or an older child who relies on a clock to know when their “morning time” has arrived, set the clock one half hour behind of the new time so that it reads 7:00 a.m. at the new time of 7:30 a.m. Allow your child to wake a bit later than normal (they will think it is 7:00 according to the clock but it will be 7:30 a.m., new time). This will only be temporary as your child adjusts to wake at their usual 7:00 a.m. time after about one or two weeks.
Infants- If you have a baby and his bedtime has become predictable (usually over 6 months old) meaning he is always going to bed around the same time each night. For example, if bedtime is normally 7:00pm move bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night until you reach the normal time. So, the first night you would put him down at 7:45pm, the second night 7:30pm, and so on. In four nights, you should be back to 7:00pm.
If their bed is not predictable (0-6 months old) simply jump to the
new time Sunday night as if you were traveling to a new time zone (find out more here).
Another tip that is helpful for those of us living in Canada is to darken your child’s room. Your child may wake up too early with the sun rising so early now in the morning and may struggle to fall asleep while it is still light outside so darkening the room can be very helpful. Even though there are extra hours of daylight children still need the same amount of sleep. Here is more info about why sleeping in the dark is so important. Want an easy way to blackout your little ones windows? Check out BlackoutEz Window coverings!
It may take children and babies a bit more time to fall asleep, this is normal, since the time is different initially they won’t be as tired.
It usually takes about a week for children and babies to completely adjust to the new time, some children it can take up to a month.
Be patient and consistent, it will happen.
About the Author
I am the mother of two amazing little boys who did not come pre-programmed with the skills to sleep well independently. I knows how hard it is to function on little to no sleep, I understands how this impacts your ability to be the best version of the mom that you want to be. This is what led me to become a Certified Sleep Consultant and the founder of To The Moon and Back Sleep Consulting. I am also a member of the International Association of Professional Sleep Consultants. I have a background in Psychology and have worked with families and young children in many different settings for over 19 years. One of the best parts of my job is seeing the impact that TEACHING their little moon bugs healthy/independent sleep skills has on the momma's!!
To The Moon and Back Sleep Consulting
Providing families the tools & support they need to get their little ones sleeping through the night and napping like champs! Everyone has more fun when they are well rested!
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