Does the time change make everyone in your house feel a little upside-down? As we are now approaching spring, I thought I would post some tips to help your little ones with the transition.
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS: SPRING FORWARD
During a time change, sleeping patterns often get thrown off. In fact, as we approach the time change you may find your little one starting to naturally wake up a little earlier.
Here are some tips to help with the springtime changes when the clocks go forward by one hour. I’ve written these guidelines based on a baby or child who goes to bed at 7pm and wakes at 7am.
Approach 1: Cold turkey (best suited for children 12 months and older)
On the evening of the time change put your baby/child to bed at the normal time, and before you go to bed move all of your clocks forward by one hour.
Set your alarm clock (or your child’s alarm clock if they use one) to their normal wake up time. Initially their body will think that it is 6am so they may be a little slow to start and a little groggy as they have missed out on one hours worth of sleep. It can sometimes take a day or two for your child to adjust. If you didn’t wake up your child at the normal time then they would probably sleep in what would appear to be slightly later than the day before.
Stay on ‘real’ time all day and don’t make adjustments for the time change or try to compensate for the lost hour. This goes for naps as well as meals/feeds.
Aim to put your child to bed at their normal bedtime on the Sunday evening (7pm), even though it may feel like 6pm to them. If your little one doesn’t seem tired, push bedtime to 7.30pm. Expect them to take a little longer to fall asleep on the first night.
Approach 2: Gradual (better for younger babies, under 12 months)
There are two different ways you can tackle the gradual approach.
1) 15 minute changes, four days in a row.
Beginning on the Thursday night before the time change, move bedtime 15 minutes earlier than usual. Continue doing this until the change happens (Thursday: 6:45, Friday: 6:30, Saturday: 6:15, Sunday: 6:00). Move your meals/feeds and naps 15 minutes earlier each day as well.
2) 30 minute changes, two days in a row.
On the Saturday night that the clocks are going to change, put your child to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal bedtime (6.30pm) and then 30 minutes earlier the next night (6.30pm new time).
Along with the time changes come longer lighter days and shorter nights. You may be tempted to put your baby or child to bed later as it feels unnatural to put them to bed so early when it is so light out. Don’t give into this temptation! Young children still need the same amount of sleep and if you get into the habit of moving bedtime later they will become overtired. If light in a child’s room is an issue, invest in some blackout blinds to help block out the light.
Hope this helps. Hooray, Spring is almost here!