This Sunday, March 14th, is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time where we will be springing forward an hour. For all of us parents this means that the babies and kiddos will be very confused and waking up later, which can really mess with their naps and bedtime sleep schedule. Here’s a quick summary of how to adjust your child’s sleeping gradually before the time change happens so that they will have time to naturally adjust themselves.
** If your child is an early riser, now is your time to do nothing! YAY! The time change will help them initially. If early mornings still persists, then it can be a sign that your child is overtired.
For babies/toddlers who are napping:
Starting on Thursday, put them down for their first nap 15minutes earlier than your usual nap time. Do the same with their second nap (if they’re on a 2 nap schedule) and with bedtime.
On Friday, put them down for their first nap 30 minutes earlier than their normal time. Do the same with their second nap, if applicable, and with bedtime.
On Saturday, put them down for their first nap 45mins earlier than the normal time, same for the second nap and then bedtime. By Sunday they will be almost adjusted and on time! Yippee!
Here’s an example of times:
If your child usually wakes for the day at 6:30am, naps at 9am, naps at 1pm, and then bedtime at 6:30, your schedule on Thursday would be wake at 6:15am, nap at 8:45am, nap at 12:45pm, bedtime at 6:15pm.
For Older Children who don’t nap:
Just go cold turkey! Let them get up and go to bed on their usual schedule. They will adjust naturally & easily within a few days. If they are having a hard time adjusting, get outside during the day and then make sure their sleep environment is very dark. That will help regulate their sleep hormones and get back to their biological sleep clock.
With the time change and spring coming there is more daylight streaming through the windows at bedtime. It is very beneficial to have your child’s room as dark as possible as this makes the body naturally release melatonin and makes for a deeper sleep state. Look for black out shades to use at night and for napping. There might also be more outdoor noise from older children playing outside (or the birds returning) and eventually when summer rolls around neighborhood noise from parties/BBQ’s. A great way to have noise not interfere with your child’s sleep is to invest in a white noise machine. It needs to be one that plays continuously throughout the night and would be shutoff in the morning, and it shouldn’t be louder than 51 decibels when measured at the crib/bed. Alternatively you can use a fan in your child’s room as the white noise source.