The spring time change, AKA, the beginning of daylight saving time, is coming! Love it or hate it, we have schedules to keep and making sure your child doesn’t lose an hour of sleep is important. In the spring, we turn our clocks ahead one hour, which means that if you do nothing to prepare for it, you and your family may find it difficult to make your mind and body fall asleep 1 hour before it is used to. But it can also be a blessing for families with a child that likes to wake up before 7 a.m.
If you want a simple, but gentler approach to just making your child go to bed and nap 1 hour earlier, I recommend doing it in 2 steps. For example, if your toddler usually takes a nap around 12:30 p.m., adjust this to 12:00 p.m. for the three days before the time change.
At bed time, do the same thing. If their bedtime is 7:00, put them to bed at 6:30 p.m. for the first three days before the time change. This will feel a little bit early for your child, and they may not fall asleep until their regular bedtime, but it is helping their mind and body adjust to the change. On the fourth night (the day of the time change), put your child to bed at their normal nap time and bedtime, which will now be 1 full hour earlier than 4 days prior. Your child may experience some continued restlessness with falling asleep initially, but in about 1 week, everyone should be falling asleep like normal and getting a good night’s rest.
Another option is to move up your schedule 10 minutes ahead each day until you are at the right time. Most parents like to start doing this the Wednesday before the time change, so that when Monday rolls around, everyone is pretty much adjusted to the time and ready to go. This is great for school aged kids and adults because the transition is gradual enough to be hardly noticeable and there is less fatigue during the day.
Also, pushing a baby’s sleep schedule 30 minutes at a time is rarely a good idea. They become overtired very quickly and are then much harder to soothe before sleep. So, moving 10 minutes a day works especially well with baby’s who are on a predictable schedule!
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Life is hard when you're not sleeping. As a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, I teach families how to live a well-rested life.