Oh, daylight saving time. Prior to having kids it was just another day. You lost a little bit of sleep, but the extra daylight is invigorating. In the fall, you relished the extra hour. Now as a parent, you’re fully aware that kids don’t quite grasp the concept of daylight saving time. I think we can all agree that springing forward is the hardest of the time changes.
Losing an hour is rough, but I’ve put together a a few tips so you and your family don’t lose sleep over daylight saving time.
Tip #1: Slowly Adjust Bedtime
Given that we move the clocks forward in the spring, you may want to consider moving up your child’s bedtime. Why? To adjust your little one’s body clock to match the time of day. For example, if your kiddo normally goes to sleep at 8:00 p.m., then after the time change, 8:00 p.m. will really feel like 7:00 p.m. for them. To prepare them, you’ll want to slowly begin putting them to bed a little earlier each night. I typically adjust in 15 minute increments. You can do this anywhere from a week to four days prior to the time change. The night the clocks move forward, your little one will go to bed at 7:00 p.m. and hopefully wake up unfazed by the loss of an hour.
Tip #2: Slowly Adjust Wake Times
Perhaps your kid already has an early bed time, so having them go to bed earlier and earlier just doesn’t work with your schedule. If that’s the case, consider waking them up earlier each day instead. I know waking a sleeping baby is frowned upon, but hear me out. As with the nighttime adjustment, the goal is to prepare our kids for the loss of an hour with slow changes. If your kid normally wakes up at 7:00 a.m., you will want to slowly get them to the point that they wake up at 6:00 a.m. The night of the time change, your kid will go to sleep at their normal time and wake up at 7:00 a.m. even though it feels like 6:00 a.m.
Tip #3: Keep It Dark
The best part about springing forward is the fact that it no longer gets dark at 5:00 p.m. However, the extra daylight also makes it harder to go to sleep at night. To makes bedtime easier, start winding down and dimming the lights the hour leading up to bedtime. Try to avoid playing outside and screen time as well. The goal is to wind down. If your little one has an early bed time, then I highly recommend a set of blackout curtains to keep things dim.
Tip #4: Stick To Your Bedtime Routine
If you’ve sleep trained your children, then you know the importance of a bedtime routine. It’s usually something along the lines of bath, books, then bed. Think of your child’s bedtime routine like a glass of sleepy time tea. It slowly puts them in the mood to sleep. You’ll want to keep up their normal bedtime routine to help them adjust.
My final piece of advice so you don’t lose sleep over daylight saving time is that it’s okay to not have a plan. You can totally wing it. Adjusting your family’s schedule may not work for your daily routine, and that’s okay! The truth is, there are plenty of variables that impact kids’ sleep, and we all eventually adjust to the time change.
Do you have any tips to share so other mommas don’t lose sleep over daylight saving time? Share them in the comments below!
Originally published February 2020.
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