Tips for Handling the Clock Change - Spring Forward
Here are my top tips for dealing with the dreaded clock change when you have babies and toddlers.
Its only a little while now until the clocks go forward so here are a few tips to get you through the first few days following the change.
Most parents do not mind it so much when they gain an extra hour, but it sends fear through people’s bones when they hear that they are going to have to lose an hour of sleep! Every year I get a TON of questions asking for the best way to handle Daylight Savings Time and children’s sleep.
If I had it my way, there would be no Daylight Savings Time. I think not only does it really affect children’s sleep patterns, but adults as well. It really does have an effect on all of us and it can increase our sleep debt — especially in children who tend to be much more structured with going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. That is usually why people notice it the most in young children. So what is the best way to handle it? My advice is to “split the difference.”
At least when the clocks move in this direction though, if your child has been waking too early for your liking up until now, this can be an opportunity to give their entire sleep schedule a nudge in the right direction as 6am will become 7am on day one.
Then if, for example, your little one usually takes a morning nap round 9:30, you may want to adjust this to 10:00 am for the first 3 days after the time change (this will feel like 9.00am to your child). Do the same for the afternoon nap.
For Bedtime, let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7 PM, I recommend putting that child to bed at 7:30 PM for the first few days following the time change (this will FEEL like 6:30 PM to your child) and you may notice that it takes a little longer for them to settle at first.
It takes everybody’s body roughly one week to adjust any kind of change in sleeping habits. If you have children over the age of two you can use a sleep training clock, or 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 would just move the clock by half an hour initially so that at 7:00am, it still reads 6:30am to buy yourself a little more time in the morning.
On the 4th or 5th night, you can move the clocks for the remaining half an hour and just get in line with the new time , knowing that by the end of the week, they will be back on track and sleep until their normal wakeup time.
Give it time and know that she will eventually get back on schedule within a week, or possibly two.
Sweat Dreams x