Tomorrow on March 11, we “spring ahead” our clocks one hour for Daylight Saving Time. While it brings welcome extra daylight in the afternoons and early evening, it can wreak havoc on sleep, especially in children.
If you’re worried about losing even more sleep than the one hour, we have some tips that may help make it a smooth transition.
Dream Team Baby, baby sleep trainers, offers this advice:
- Use Saturday’s nap time(s) and bedtime to help your child “pre-adjust” to Sunday’s time change. We generally suggest moving things back in 15 or 30-minute increments. For instance, on Saturday your child’s normal 1:00 p.m. nap time and 7:00 p.m. bedtime would turn into a 12:45 p.m. nap time and a 6:30 p.m. bedtime. Doing this homework ahead will give your child a head start on Sunday.
- Get your child ready for these earlier nap time(s) and bedtime on Saturday by keeping them busy and engaged. If possible, introduce some fun, novel activities and get some fresh air. Also, make sure to stick to your usual pre-nap or bedtime routine, if you have one, so all else remains consistent and comfortable.
- On Sunday morning, the time will have shifted forward overnight. It’s entirely possible that your child will wake at the right time, according to the new clocks — especially if you made adjustments the day before. However, some children may still be asleep at their designated wake up time. If this happens and your child is still napping two or more times a day, it’s usually best to wake him or her so the first nap of the day goes smoothly. If your child is on one nap (or no naps), rejoice and let them sleep in a little. An extra 30 minutes of snooze time should not impact your child’s daytime sleep.
- Try your best to put your child down as close as possible to their new, adjusted nap time(s) throughout the day.
- On Sunday evening, try your best to put your child to sleep at his or her normal adjusted bedtime. It will be significantly lighter outside so it if you don’t already have room darkening shades, this could be a good time to install them.
Remember, all children are different. Some make the jump in time change seamlessly, and others take a few days to fully adjust. Just be patient and it will all “spring back” into place.