Remember when we were young and looked forward to daylight savings because we would get an extra hour of sleep? If you don’t have children you probably still feel that way, however, those of us with little ones know that now we have children waking even earlier in the morning. And if you have already been blessed with a super early riser, you know exactly what you are in for.
If you do have an early riser, you can take this as a good time to reset your baby’s clock and get to a more reasonable bedtime/wake time. It may take a week or two but it can be done.
For the rest of you, a few nights should have your baby back to their regular bedtime and getting all the sleep they need.
I am not a fan of daylight savings. It not only affects children’s sleep patterns but adults as well. Not only do we struggle to feel normal for weeks after the time change, there is actually an 8% increase in traffic accidents the Monday following daylight savings.
I get so excited each year when they talk about ending this practice altogether, however, it seems to be here for the foreseeable future.
So how can we adjust to the new time with as little disruption to our sleep as possible?
First of all, don’t change the time on your clock until the following day. Get out of bed and start your day and don’t worry that it is earlier than your usual time. After an hour or so you can begin to change the clocks in the house.
So now you need to “split the difference”. If for example your little
one usually takes a morning nap around 9:30, you will adjust this to 9:00 am for the 3 days after
the time change. It will be a bit of a push for your child, but not so much that it will cause much
damage to her schedule. Do the same for the afternoon nap.
Let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7 PM, I recommend putting that child to bed at 6:30
PM for the first 3 days following the time change. (This will FEEL like 7:30 to your child.) And it
will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this. It takes everybody’s body
roughly one week to adjust to any kind of change in sleeping habits. Eventually, you can get your child back to their usual 7:00 bedtime
For toddlers, you can set their ok-to-wake clock for a little earlier and increase it after 3 days. You can do the same for their naptime.
If you are dealing with a baby, you cannot do that. Do not rush in as soon as you hear your baby
waking up in the morning, because you do not want to send a message that getting up at 6 a.m. is okay now. So if she normally wakes at 7:00 am, but is now up at 6:00, you will wait till ten min after on the first day, and then twenty after the next, then 6:30 the next day and, by the end of the week, your
baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual hour. On the
4th night, just get in line with the new time so your baby is back to going to bed when the clock
says 7:00 pm, and adjust naps to the correct time on day 4 as well.
Give it time and know that your child will eventually get back on schedule within a week,
If you have followed all of these steps and your child still hasn’t adjusted to the new time, you
can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE evaluation of your child’s sleep.