Spring forward...Fall back....
I love fall! Cooler weather, leaves changing colors, holidays around the corner and I get an extra hour of sleep. As a parent, I dread my kids waking up too early and having to adjust their sleep patterns. Do you?
If so, here are some options to help you and your family through the transition when we set our clocks backwards 1 hour on November 1st.
The gradual approach is usually recommend for younger children (3 and under) or those who do not adjust well to rapid changes in their schedules.
Start the week before the time change and slowly shift your baby's sleep schedule later. For example: move bedtime, morning wake up time and nap times later by 10-15 minutes.
Keep moving the entire schedule later every few days but ensure your child doesn't get overtired. By the time Sunday comes, your child's schedule will be based on the new time. You will have gently shifted the circadian rhythm which regulates your child's sleeping patterns.
For the rapid approach, put your child to bed at their normal bedtime on Saturday, the ideal bedtime for most children is between 7-8 pm.
Your child will likely wake up at their normal time (6-7am), but the clock will say (5-6 am). Your brain will say uck! Go ahead and get them up, they don’t know about daylight savings time, but you can keep it low key for 30-60 minutes until you are ready to start your day.
If your child is less than 3 years old and still naps then stretch him as close as you can to his normal 1st nap time (using the current clock). Water play, a stroll outside (don't let them fall asleep in the stroller) or getting outside is a great wake to keep any kiddo awake!
If you think your child can’t make it a full hour later, split the difference pushing the morning nap later by 30 min. If that is too much, push the 1st nap later 15-20 mins and continue to do so every 3 days until the new time is reached. The rest of the schedule will naturally be later if you follow this sleep tip.
Early Rising Tips:
The next few mornings, they may wake up a little early, but don’t let them start the day before 6:00 am (new clock). You may need to review my blog on Early Rising if you have issues with waking up too early in the mornings or if your child is waking before 6:00 am.
Daylight Savings Tips:
On Sunday, follow your usual schedule as close as possible. Move meals, the rest of his naps(s) and bedtime using the new clock time.
Ensure that your child is well-rested during this transition period and if needed, putting them to bed 15-30 minutes earlier for a few days is okay.
If your child had too late of a bedtime before the fall time change, here is your chance to move it earlier without too much fuss. So, if your lil one's nite-nite time was too late, don’t move it later!
It may take everyone a few days to adjust but it should not take more than a week to adjust your child's sleep patterns to the new time.
Written By: Michelle S. Donaghy