How to adjust to Daylight Savings with small children

How to adjust to Daylight Savings with small children

I can’t wait until daylight savings is here-said no Mom ever.

Prior to Motherhood I actually looked forward to “falling back” and gaining that glorious extra hour of sleep (ahh to be young). But as a parent, this time of the year basically means it will be dark well before dinner time, everyone will be confused about what time it is for a few days, and little children will be knocking on our door at 5am instead of six.

What’s even more fun is trying to navigate your baby’s sleep schedule during the time switch. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just explain to her that she gets a “free” hour of sleep?!

I remember as a new parent feeling so overwhelmed each time fall or spring rolled around because it meant dealing with yet another time shift that might de-rail sleep schedules.

While you may find that your baby actually adjusts naturally to the time change and you don’t have to do much of anything, if you’re like the rest of us you’ll likely need a few sleep-hacks to help your child through this transition.

Here are a few ways you can do that…

1)      Start practicing a slightly earlier bedtime now. This can be an adjustment your entire family follows as well. You may notice you actually feel a bit sleepier in the fall which is due to your circadian rhythm adjusting to the change in daylight. If your child’s normal bedtime is at 730pm try starting your routine at about 7:15, then a couple of nights later 7pm, and continue letting your child slowly adjust over the next couple days to an earlier bedtime. You may find that a bedtime that is an entire hour earlier is what your child needs, or it might be closer to 30 minutes.

2)      Be aware of your child “crashing” during naps. It is true with any schedule shift that your child might feel a bit off for naps and end up crashing in an attempt to over-compensate for lost sleep. If you notice that one nap suddenly becomes unusually long, you can try to wake her up at her normal nap length or slightly later (maybe the only time you should wake a baby) and attempt to keep other naps as normal as possible throughout the day.

3)      Try not to make any other major changes right now. I recommend treating daylight savings like development leaps-making sure to put an extra emphasis on rest and avoiding too much at once. If you’re thinking of potty training or switching up sleep environments, it might be best to put that on hold for a couple weeks until everyone has adjusted.

4)      If early wake-ups still happen, encourage your child to stay in bed for quiet time before getting up. If your child is able to stay in her crib/room without getting overly upset, this can help remind her internal clock that more sleep or quiet time is needed. If you have a Toddler you could consider a fun stoplight clock that turns green when it’s time to get out of bed!

 Daylight savings time is going to happen no matter what so no need to stress when it comes to your child’s sleep. Making some of these minor adjustments could make all the difference and you might actually find your child is much more adaptable than you think!



Rachel GortonComment