Daylight Savings Time is here again! And it can wreak havoc on kids’ sleep schedules. Try these tips to get everyone feeling refreshed and sleeping back on track.
The days are getting longer, the sun is shining, and spring is just around the corner! And that means Daylight Savings Time is here to throw a wrench on your kids’ sleep routine… ugh!
When we spring forward, 6am becomes 7am and 6 pm becomes 7pm. The dark hours of the day are saved for mornings and there is more light in the evening due to shifting the clock.
Here’s how to help your kids adjust to the new schedule for a harmonious sleep routine for your family.
Split the Nap Time Difference
Instead of adjusting your child’s nap schedule immediately, split the difference. Move the nap times by 30 minutes on the first day and add the remaining 30 minutes by the end of the third day. By changing nap times more gradually your little one’s body will have some time to adjust and ease into the transition.
Achieve Your Ideal Bedtime
If you have an early riser who tends to be up with the birds you’re about to catch a break. Your little rooster will be cock-a-doodle-doin’ at 6am instead of 5 am for a little while.
If you’re used to waking your little one up in the morning, you’re about to wake up an EVEN SLEEPIER little one.
This can actually work to your advantage, because with any luck, she’ll be tired earlier in the evening.
And if there are any long-term adjustments you’d like to make to your kids’ sleep schedule, seize the day! Since their schedule is already off, you can use this opportunity to build a shift into the timing of their sleep schedules.
Use Light and Darkness
The circadian rhythm (our body’s internal clock) is regulated by light and darkness. To help your kids adjust, expose them to light first thing in the morning, and dim the lights as bedtime nears. (We turn down lights in the evening and the kids even think it’s kind of fun. We call it “nighttime lighting!”
If your child’s room is not completely dark at bedtime, you can try using room darkening shades or even just a blanket draped over the window in a pinch. Darkness boosts melatonin production which encourages the onset of sleep.
Balance Routines with Play and Rest
Providing structure and routines during this period of transition will support children in making the adjustment to DST. Adjust the day so that regular activities, playtime and mealtimes all follow the new clock.
Change is never easy but on the bright side, when it comes to children and sleep, springing forward into Daylight Savings Time is far easier than falling back. Splitting the difference on nap timing, being mindful of light and darkness to reset your little one’s internal clock and shifting other daily routines will have your children well rested and ready for spring.
Alysa Dobson is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant with SleepWell Baby. She works with families to help them get the sleep they need. Alysa offers support to parents with children ages 4 months- 8 years old through both in home and remote consultations. She can be contacted at [email protected]