On Sunday March 13th we will adjust our clocks ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time. This means days get longer (yippee!) and mornings are darker for a brief while (until the sunrise is 5 am, yikes!). It also means that our children’s sleep schedules need to alter, as well.
You can help your child adjust to the change by several methods which can take anywhere from a few days to about a week.
1. Go cold turkey. When the change comes up just put your child to bed at the new time. Once sunset runs into your child’s bedtime it may get challenging to put them to bed when the sun is still fairly bright. If you have a toddler you can use a developmentally appropriate clock to let them it’s already “night-night”, even though the sun is still up (confusing, I know, but stay strong in your conviction!). Use black-out shades if your child’s room lets in a lot of light.
2. Gradually adjust bedtime a few days ahead of schedule. Depending on how sensitive your child is to sleep changes take 2 days and move bedtime earlier by 30 minutes OR 4 days before and move bedtime 15 minutes earlier. Then, when the change happens, bedtime is already at the new adjusted time on the clock. Your child may not fall asleep in a regimented manner but you are giving their body time to "reset" to the new time.
When sunrise runs into the 5 am zone do your best not to start the day before 6 am. Early rising is tough to change and easily ingrained.
Make sure your child is well napped during the time change or the days leading up to the new time so that they are starting with a full “tank” of sleep.
Enjoy all that additional sun we’ll be getting!