Tips to Help Your Children with the Daylight Savings Transition by Danielle Rowe

Do you remember the days when the “fall back” Daylight Saving Time meant you got an extra hour of sleep? Pure bliss, right?? Well, the time change in the fall is no picnic when you are a parent. Unfortunately our little ones do not understand the joys of another hour snuggled up in bed. So according to the new time, they will be up an hour EARLY throwing the whole day off kilter. You are not alone in this early rising tango as millions of parents will be going through the same thing. Good news for you is there are a few things that you can do to ease the transition. Founder of Dream Little One Family Sleep Consulting, Danielle Rowe, shares her five sleep tips for the daylight saving time transition.

5 Sleep Tips for the Daylight Saving Time Transition

1. Start the transition early. About 4-5 days before the time change you can slowly start shifting bedtime and meal times 15 minutes later every 2 days. (This is harder to do with children who attend school.) So if dinner is typically at 5:30pm and bedtime is at 7:00pm you would move them to 5:45pm and 7:15pm on day 1. Eventually it will end up with dinner at 6:30pm and bedtime at 8:00pm (which will be the new time of 5:30pm and 7:00pm) … and VOILA!! the transition is made.

2. Delay getting your baby out of their crib.
Some babies are early risers which means they will be getting up even earlier. When you start the 15min. bedtime shift you can start delaying when you get your baby out of their crib by 15min. For toddlers and older children you can use an “Ok to wake” clock to help push back the time that they get out of bed to wake you up.

3. Use Blackout shades. So once you have established the bedtime routine you may need to work on the early morning wakings. Waking up is greatly affected by sunlight entering our room. You can use a bit of trickery for all age children (and yourself) by putting up blackout shades (or taping up black garbage bags) to block out the early morning sun.

4. Make use of sunlight. When it is an acceptable time to get up you should open all shades and let in as much sunlight at you can. Sunlight exposure throughout the day helps to set the body’s sleep rhythms. This plus social cues (such as meal time and bedtime routines) sets your child up for sleep success. Use sunlight to your advantage.

5. Be Patient! When the transition is made slowly you can gently ease your child (or children) into the time change. If the transition needs to be more abrupt you run the risk of creating an overtired child, which can be very unpleasant. Regardless of how you make the change you need to remain patient. As with any schedule change it can take a week or 2 for everything to “fall” into place.

Danielle Rowe is a certified child sleep consultant with The Family Sleep Institute and the founder of Dream Little One Family Sleep Consulting. Danielle works with families to develop a customized sleep plan that best fits your child’s sleep challenge as well as your parenting style. There a variety of consultation packages to choose from to best fit your budget. She began her journey as a sleep consultant when she ran into some sleep issues with 2 out of her 3 children. It was an amazing feeling for her when they began sleeping through the night with the help of a sleep consultant. And now Danielle wants nothing more than to help exhausted moms and dads out there to get that same relief. She has a passion for teaching parents about sleep and would love to help families get the sleep they need. Dream Little One Family Sleep Consulting is your key to a better night’s sleep.

Daylight Savings Torture … I Mean, Time

With the “delightful” Spring forward happening this weekend, I thought this post was worth re-sharing and seeing if anyone has any tips!

I’ve certainly heard it and thought it a million times: “Time changes were created by someone who doesn’t have children.”

Clock

Trying to get children adjusted to a suddenly adjusted schedule can be daunting at best and torturous at worst. No one wants to go to bed when it’s light outside. Hopes of a later bedtime meaning a later wake-up are often crushed by disoriented toddlers.

Here are some tips on getting your children adjusted to the time change:

  • Don’t skip naps in hopes of having your child go to sleep earlier. Overtired children often resist sleep.
  • If your child is old enough to understand, explain the time change and why it began. Not only will this help them understand why it is light outside at 8 p.m., it makes a great history lesson at home!
  • Don’t be too stringent about bedtime the first week after the time change. Let kids go to sleep 30-45 minutes later than normal and edge back toward their regular bedtime. Keep their routine the same, though, because those steps can communicate “bedtime” more than outside conditions.
  • My friend Kat suggests having your child use a sleeping mask as young as age 4. This helps block out sunlight and allows them to get to sleep despite light coming in the windows. She said it really did the trick for her daughter!

Also interesting is that exercise helps your body produce seratonin, which aids in resetting your internal clock. So if you are having difficulty adjusting yourself, a good workout might be the remedy!

Do you have any tried-and-true tips for maintaining sanity during the time change?

Sources: Fox Birmingham, “Make Little Changes to Help Kids with Daylight Savings”
The Examiner, “Adjusting to Daylight Savings Time”

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.