On Sunday, we will wake up to yet another time change. Anyone else feel like we JUST went through this? I'll save my complaining about Daylight Saving and cut right to the chase. If you're reading this and you're a parent, you are probably hoping to get through the time change without too much pain and suffering. Keep reading!
This time change is actually the "easy" one. But really how often is sleep easy when it comes to children. But just because it may be complicated does not mean that it's impossible!
If your child is young or a sensitive sleeper, on Thursday, shift his entire schedule by 15 minutes. This includes what time he normally wakes in the morning and all meals and naps. If you are unable to shift these things due to daycare/school, no worries. Just move what you can once home. Repeat each day and by Sunday, things will be in line with the new time change. You can also shift the schedule by 30 minutes Saturday and Sunday if you think your little one can handle that.
If you have an early riser and want your child to start waking later, then you don't have to do anything leading up to Sunday. For instance, if your child has been waking at 5:30am, Sunday they would technically wake at 6:30am. If you don't want him going to bed an hour later, you will want to shift his schedule AFTER the time change. Starting Sunday night, you would move bedtime (only bedtime, no need to move naps or meals) 15 minutes earlier every 2 or 3 days until you have moved back to the regular bedtime. Personally, I typically recommend children who are aged 4 months to 18 months or so have a bedtime no later than 7pm and children 18 months to 3 no later than 7:30pm but that's entirely up to you.
So as you are shifting things to get bedtime back to the regular time, be sure not to rush it. We want your child to have enough time to adjust to the change. If at any point during the shift, you find your child begins to wake up earlier or before 6am, then stop moving things and go back to the bedtime before he began waking up earlier.
And as always, about an hour or so before bedtime, begin quieting down the house. Turn off tvs and screens and dim lights. Doing these things will be the cue to your baby's brain that its time to relax and that bedtime is coming soon. Having a bedtime routine can also aid in your child's path to sleep. Create a calm and soothing routine right before bed. The routine can include a few songs and books, final diaper change or bathroom break and pjs. It should be 15-20 minutes long, 30 minutes if it includes a bath. During the day, get as much natural light as possible, going outside when the weather permits.
Remember, every child is different. Some adjust to change much easier than others and even siblings aren't the same. So if you notice your child is a bit off or cranky because of the time change, just be patient and consistent. Your little one will get there.
Useful Tip: If your child wakes too early in the morning or from a nap, don't rush in and get them up. Let your child be until it's time to wake up or until you are okay with your child being up. By doing this, you give your child the space to fall back to sleep if they've woken too early and are not done sleeping and you can help break a bad habit of waking too early. If you always get your child when he wakes at 6am but really, he could sleep until 7am, his body will then get used to be up and ready to go at 6am. So by leaving him, you can help reset his sleep clock.
If you think you need some more one on one support with Daylight Saving or any other sleep issues, please reach out. I am always happy to help all of my clients sleep better.