Do you remember the days when the “fall back” Daylight Saving Time meant you got an extra hour of sleep? Pure bliss, right?? Well, the time change in the fall is no picnic when you are a parent. Unfortunately our little ones do not understand the joys of another hour snuggled up in bed. So according to the new time, they will be up an hour early throwing the whole day off kilter. You are not alone in this early rising tango as millions of parents will be going through the same thing. Good news for you is there are a few things that you can do to ease the transition. Founder of Dream Little One Family Sleep Consulting, Danielle Rowe, shares her five sleep tips for the daylight saving time transition.
5 Sleep Tips for the Daylight Saving Time Transition
1. Start the transition early. About 4-5 days before the time change you can slowly start shifting bedtime and meal times 15min later every 2 days. (This is harder to do with children who attend school.) So if dinner is typically at 5:30pm and bedtime is at 7:00pm you would move them to 5:45pm and 7:15pm on day 1. Eventually it will end up with dinner at 6:30pm and bedtime at 8:00pm (which will be the new time of 5:30pm and 7:00pm) and VOILA! the transition is made.
2. Delay getting your baby out of their crib. Some babies are early risers which means they will be getting up even earlier. When you start the 15min. bedtime shift you can start delaying when you get your baby out of their crib by 15min. For toddlers and older children you can use an “Ok to wake” clock to help push back the time that they get out of bed to wake you up.
3. Use Blackout shades. So once you have established the bedtime routine you may need to work on the early morning wakings. Waking up is greatly affected by sunlight entering our room. You can use a bit of trickery for all age children (and yourself) by putting up blackout shades (or taping up black garbage bags) to block out the early morning sun.
4. Make use of sunlight. When it is an acceptable time to get up you should open all shades and let in as much sunlight at you can. Sunlight exposure throughout the day helps to set the bodies sleep rhythms. This plus social cues (such as meal time and bedtime routines) sets your child up for sleep success. Use sunlight to your advantage. Let them play outside and make use of that late in the day sunlight. Then once it gets dark you can slowly ease them into the evening routine.
5. Be Patient! When the transition is made slowly you can gently ease your child (or children) into the time change. If the transition needs to be more abrupt you run the risk of creating an overtired child, which can be very unpleasant. Regardless of how you make the change you need to remain patient. As with any schedule change it can take a week or 2 for everything to “fall” into place.
Enjoy the cooler weather and let’s get geared up for all the fun Fall and Winter Festivities!
Danielle Rowe is a certified child sleep consultant with The Family Sleep Institute and the founder of Dream Little One Family Sleep Consulting. Rowe works with families to develop a customized sleep plan that best fits your child’s sleep challenge as well as your parenting style.