It’s that time again – DAYLIGHT SAVINGS IS COMING TO AN END!
These time changes don’t only affect our children’s sleep patterns but our adult sleep patterns too, as you all know it can take a couple of weeks to adjust but here are some tips to help the transition.
So what is the best way to handle Daylight Savings and turning the clocks back again?
My advice is to “split the difference.”
When the clocks go back an hour – my recommendation to all parents is to just leave the clocks as they are. Just get up at your usual time to start the day. After your cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast, then go around and change the clocks.
Naps – If naptime was usually at 9:30am, adjust this to 9am for the first 3 days. The same goes for the afternoon nap or any naps after this (just split the time difference bringing the naptime forward by half an hour). On the 4th day push the nap again by an extra 30 minutes, back to your child’s normal naptime. It will be a bit of a stretch for your child but not so much that it will cause damage to his/her schedule. You would do the same for their awake times - if they use a particular period of awake time.
Bedtime – Let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7 p.m. I recommend putting your child to bed at 6:30pm for the first 3 days following the time change (this will FEEL like 7:30pm to your child). On day/night 4, move to the correct time on the clock again. Give it time, your little one to adjust, and know that your babe will be back on schedule within the next week or two.
Toddler Tip – If you have children over the age of two who can somewhat tell the time, you can put a digital clock in the room and put a piece of tape over the minutes, so that they can see if it is 6 o’clock or 7 o’clock, but they cannot see the minutes, which often confuses toddlers. Just set the clock forward half an hour so that at 6:30 it says 7:00 and let them get up a little earlier than normal, knowing that, by the end of the week, they will be back on track and sleeping until their normal wakeup time. A ‘Gro Clock’ will also do the trick.
Baby Tip – If you are dealing with a baby, you obviously cannot use the digital clock trick like you may be able to do with toddlers. My advice for babies though, is not to rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up, because you do not want to send a message that getting up at 5 a.m. is okay now. So if he/she normally wakes at 6:00, but is now up at 5:00, just wait ten minutes after the first day, and then twenty minutes after the next, then until 5:30 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. Of course if your little one is upset you don’t have to wait but if after a week or two your little one is still up at 5 I would look at giving them good opportunity to settle back off to sleep when they wake, before rushing in.
Playing roles - It is really important during this time of change that you try not to play extra roles in getting your little one off to sleep. So basically – be responsive but be mindful not to begin, rocking to sleep or patting to sleep for example if you don’t already. The last thing you want to discover once your little one adjusts to the time is that they are now reliant on your assistance to get to sleep when previously they may not have been.
Bedtime routine - It is really important to continue to do the same bedtime routine as you normally do and be consistent. Bedtime routines are an important element in the lead up to successful bedtimes.
This transition can take a couple of weeks to adjust to. In the meantime I hope this helps.
The Gentle Sleep Specialist x