Pre-children you likely loathed the Spring time change as it meant losing an hour to your Sunday morning. Now you have kids, specifically an early riser, it means for a few days you revel in the fact that you have cracked it and they are getting up later. Sorry to say, but as the week progresses and they adjust their body clock, they will be back to old ways. (read our tips here for early risers). If you send your children to daycare or go to classes that you need to be up and out for, you will certainly want to be prepared for the time change.
Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for the daylight saving.
Change their schedule slowly. It’s not just bedtime and their wake-up that will need to be adjusted – you will need to adjust the day-time schedule too. If your child is 12 months or younger, or sensitive to any change in their schedule, they will only likely be able to cope with a 10 minute adjustment. Therefore, you will want to spend around 6 days working on this adjustment. You can do this in advance of the Sunday time change, or the week after, depending on which works best for you. Each day, move their nap time forward by 10 minutes. For example, if they usually nap at 9.30am then on day 1 put them down at 9.20am, then day 2 at 9.10am and so on until you are putting them down at 8.30am which, with the time change, will be 9.30am. For older children, they can cope with larger changes over fewer days. Adjust their schedule by 15 minutes over 4 days.
Maintain your bedtime routine. We have said it before and we will continue to repeat this key tip– Consistency! Your little one will be more accepting of sleep when they know what’s coming. As their internal body clock is adjusting, a consistent bedtime routine will help them to calm down and prepare for their nap or bedtime sleep.
Blackout blinds! Last summer you had a newborn and they weren’t affected by the early rising sun; however, now you have an older child they are more sensitive to it being light or dark outside. Time to make them believe it’s night time! Here are our favorite blackout blinds as they completely block out all outside light. Any kind of light can suppress the production of melatonin, the hormone our bodies produces to help us fall asleep and stay asleep. If they have light coming into the room in the evening they will struggle to fall asleep, especially at this earlier bedtime.
Remember to change the toddler clock! As you change your clocks around the house on Saturday night before you go to bed. Don’t forget to change the toddler clocks too. If you are changing their schedule before Sunday, remember to adjust the toddler clock each day to match their new schedule. If you are looking to implement a toddler clock to help deal with this change, remember to use a reward system to help encourage the change in sleep behavior. We recommend the OKAY to Wake toddler clock and the soon to be available OOLY sleep companion.
Be consistent with your sleep training. If you are in the middle of sleep training whilst the spring time change ticks round, be consistent with your sleep plan and how you respond to their night waking and day time nap wake ups. There’s no reason to put the sleep training on hold, just be conscious of the changes to their internal clock.
About the Author:
Aimi Palmer, My Little Sleeper
Her interest in sleep training started when she had her first daughter… what a learning experience that was. She and her husband did, after many sleepless nights, employ a sleep trainer and seeing the results sparked her initial interest in the subject.
When she had her second child, she put everything she had learned into practice then low and behold – baby girl slept! Not being totally exhausted the entire time meant that she had more energy to enjoy being a mom to Jessica and Lexi and it was around this time that she thought how much she would love to help other parents benefit in this way.
My Little Sleeper offers no cry sleep tips, and can provide consultations and services virtually, so location (or mom’s state of mind!) is never an issue — Aimi can help.