Daylight Savings Time – is this really still a thing? Why (why?!) have we not figured out a way to banish this wretched practice? Daylight Savings Time, also known as “DST” or “The Most Hated Day of The Year For All Parents With Young Children,” goes into effect on Sunday, November 6th – this is when we turn the clocks back and your child’s former 6 a.m. wakeup suddenly becomes 5 a.m. (or, worse: the 5:30 a.m. wake becomes 4:30 a.m.!!)
Until policy-makers (or whoever on earth is responsible for helping rid society of this ancient and oh-so-unnecessary exercise) help us all out by removing DST from our vocabulary, here are WeeSleep’s top tips for getting your family through the time change with as little harm to healthy sleep as possible!
Don’t make it harder than it already is – Wait until morning to change the clocks: My recommendation to all parents is that you simply leave your clocks alone so it’s not a psychologically-upsetting event to see your little one up an hour earlier (especially if that hour is 4 o’clock in the morning!). Just get up at your usual time and start the day. After a cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast, then you can go around changing the clocks. It will feel much better this way, trust me!
Split the difference:
- If, for example, your little one usually takes a morning nap around 9:30 a.m., you will adjust this to 9:00 a.m. for the three days after the time change. It will be a bit of a push for your child, but not so much that it will cause much damage to her schedule. Do the same for the afternoon nap.
- Let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7 p.m.: In this case, I recommend putting your child to bed at 6:30 p.m. for the first three days following the time change. (This will FEEL like 7:30 p.m. to your child. Again, this is a bit “later” than usual, but no so much that it would hugely affect or harm your child’s sleep.)
- It will very likely take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this. It takes most people – children and adults alike – roughly one week to adjust any kind of change in sleeping habits.
Use a clock for older children: If your child is more than two years old, you can put a digital clock in the room and put a piece of tape over the minute numerals, 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. I suggest setting the clock forward half an hour so that, for example, at 6:30 the clock actually reads 7:00, and then let your child get up a little earlier than normal, knowing that – by the end of the week – your little one will be back on track and sleeping until his normal wakeup time. Another option is a Gro Clock, which we at WeeSleep LOVE for great sleep!
Give your baby some time: If you are dealing with a baby, a clock clearly won’t work! My advice is that you not rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up, because you do not want to send a message that getting up at the crack of dawn is going to be the new norm. So, if your baby normally wakes at 7:00am, but is now up at 6:00, I recommend that you wait until 6:10 a.m. on the first day, and then 6:20 a.m. the next, and then 6:30 a.m. the next day; by the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and he will be waking up at his usual hour. (Remember, babies who are great sleepers and wake up well rested are normally very happy to hang out in their crib “chatting” to themselves or playing with their snuggly buddy until mom or dad show up to start the day!)
After four days, get on the new schedule: So, on the fourth night after the time change, just get in line with the new time. Go back to putting your child to bed when the clock says 7:00 p.m. (or whatever their bedtime was previously), and adjust naps to the correct time on day four after the time change as well.
Remember, as with any sleep change (or any change at all, for babies, for that matter!) give it time and know that your wee one should get back on schedule within a week, possibly two.
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