With the end of Daylight Savings Time approaching, I fondly think back to my teenage years when I would welcome the extra hour of sleep that the first Sunday in November provided.
But now, as a parent, I don’t have the luxury to just roll over and sleep in, even on the one day of the year that the clock tells me it’s “ok”. My kids are up whether I like it or not.
But as a pediatric sleep consultant, I don’t worry because my children sleep well and can handle the transition with ease.
However, I do work with parents of not-so-great sleepers, and the concerned emails have started to roll in. Parents want to know how to manage the shifting clocks so that they aren’t dealing with major routine disturbances that effect their baby or child.
If this sounds like you, there are three options to help you get prepared and make the transition as smooth as possible. There’s still plenty of time!
Child Adjust On His Own
We all naturally adjust to the time change within about a week once our internal clock resets. If your child is well-rested prior to the clocks moving back, then you may not want to do anything. He’ll be caught up soon!
Make Small Adjustments
Four days before the time change, move your child’s entire routine (sleep, meals, wake up time, and playtime) ahead by 15 minutes, and continue that each day. Keep in mind that at first, you’ll need to leave your child in bed after they wake up from sleep times (naps and overnight) because they probably won’t sleep in automatically right away.
If you’ve got a child who gets overtired easily, this is the strategy for you. You’ll begin a full week before the time change and implement the 15-minute changes very gradually. On some days, you won’t switch the routine at all. Your child’s body will slowly catch up before being moved forward again. With this approach it’s important that you leave your child in bed longer, even if they continue to wake up at the regular time.
Changing up a child’s routine is never easy, but the time change doesn’t have to lead to meltdowns. All it takes it a little preparation. With a well-rested baby in your house, you and your family will be less stressed and ready to enjoy the fall.
Joleen Dilk Salyn is a certified pediatric sleep consultant and founder of Baby Sleep 101. She helps tired parents worldwide get their children sleeping through the night by working with the science of sleep and healthy sleep best practices through private consultations and customized sleep plans and support.
She is a member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants and also holds a Bachelor of Education and Post Baccalaureate in Education. Joleen is also a mother to two wonderful children, ages 3 and 5.
Visit www.babysleep101.com for more information or tune into The Baby Sleep 101 Facebook page for a free live weekly child sleep Q&A from 8pm-9pm CST every Wednesday night.
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