Most parents are not big fans of time changes, especially when they’ve worked hard to get their child to sleep on a predictable schedule. However, it doesn’t look like Daylight Saving Time will be reversed anytime soon (although I did sign the online petition- which you can find here: http://www.petition2congress.com/6284/end-daylight-savings-time/).
This Sunday (March 12) at 2:00 am, our clocks will “spring forward”, meaning that if your little person normally wakes at 6:00 am, it will now be 7:00 am on the clock. This spring time change allows us to experience longer hours of daylight, which may make it harder to convince the little people that it really is bedtime even though it’s not dark!
Here are my Daylight Saving Time tips to make the change easier:
- If you have a very sensitive sleeper, you can transition them gradually in 15-30 minute increments. For example, if your child’s bedtime is 7:00 pm before the time change, the clock will now read 8:00 pm. Try putting your child down at 7:30 pm after the time change. This gradual method can also work if you use it in advance; you can start shifting your child’s schedule by 15 minutes in the days leading up to the time change.
- Go cold turkey. Most children are not super sensitive sleepers and will adjust on their own in about a week. This time change works great for those babies who were super early risers!
- Expose your child to lots of sunlight! Sunlight regulates our circadian rhythm which determines our healthy sleep patterns. That sunlight suppresses our melatonin (sleepy hormone) during the day so that we are ready to sleep at night.
- Have a well-established routine. If you already have a great routine down, your child should adjust easily within a week. Along with that, make sure your child is starting the day at a reasonable time for the new change. If you’re struggling with the new times, try waking your child at the new 7:00 am to start the day on the right foot. Having a consistent sleep routine (nice, soothing wind-down activities) also triggers the release of that sleepy hormone melatonin.
- Make sure their sleep environment is ready for the new change, especially when it means more sunlight hours. You may need to adjust the temperature in their room to be cooler during sleeping times. You may also need to adjust your blackout curtains- if too much light is streaming in the room, you can buy a thicker curtain panel or even tape aluminum foil on the windows (definitely not pretty- but effective!)