While the beginning or end of daylight saving time may seem like a relatively small shift, the time changes can significantly interfere with children’s sleep habits and daily routines — not to mention our own!
Unfortunately, our internal body clocks don’t change as quickly or as easily as the changing of our real-world clocks. It often takes a bit more time, effort and advanced planning to help us and our children adjust. Here are a few tried-and-true tips to help your child Spring Forward and Fall Back.
- Get a head start. In the week leading up to the shift, gradually ease your child’s bedtime backward or forward by 15 minutes each night for the four nights prior to the time change. For babies younger than 6 months, be aware that internal sleep-wake cycles may not yet be fully developed, so don’t try to change their schedules too much.
- Adjust nap time. As you help your child prep for a bedtime that is an hour later or earlier than what they’re used to, don’t forget to also gradually adjust nap time a bit each day, too!
- Stay active. Getting a healthy dose of daily exercise helps improve sleep and can make the time change easier. Any time sleep patterns are disrupted, stay active to make sure you’re helping your body make the switch. Check out these tips for helping your little one stay active indoors.
- Set the mood. Turning lights on and off at appropriate times and getting light-blocking blinds or shades in bedrooms can make the transition smoother.
- Turn off tech. Don’t forget to remove distractions, such as TVs and electronic games — they are known to negatively impact sleep.
- Maintain existing routines. While having a set bedtime routine is highly recommended in general, it becomes even more useful in getting things back on track as quickly as possible after a time change.
- Give it time. Making the switch isn’t always easy, even if you’ve employed every time-changing tip and trick in the book! Try to set realistic expectations and exercise patience with your little one.
Looking for more helpful parenting tips? Check out these mom hacks!