By: Jenn Kelner
Certified Sleep Consultant
Navigating your Child’s Sleep Schedule Around the end of Daylight Savings Time
On Sunday November 3rd at 2am, Daylight Savings Time ends and the clocks turn back one hour. This used to be a much anticipated time when you could take advantage of that extra hour, but now as a parent of young children, it’s just one more thing you have to navigate. If you have an early morning riser already, you can expect it to be even earlier once you turn the clocks back. Even as a professional child sleep consultant, I never look forward to this time change because my children who normally wake at 6:30am will most likely wake at 5:30am. Apparently our children didn’t get the memo about “Fall Back” and sleeping in!
Children who are typically easy going when it comes to schedules may adjust fairly easily once you shift their eating and sleeping schedule to the new time. For those children who might need a little extra help adjusting, you should consider gradually shifting their eating and sleeping schedule three to four days in advance of the time change. Start by moving bedtime 15 minutes later the first night, then allowing your child to sleep in an extra 15 minutes the next morning. Over the next few days, continue to shift their naps, meals and bedtime in 15 minute increments so that by the time Sunday rolls around, they are already adjusted to the new time.
With the end of Daylight Savings Time comes darker evenings and lighter mornings. If you decide to go with the flow once the clocks turn back, you can help your child stay asleep longer in the morning by making sure the room is dark and quiet. Hang up room darkening curtains (or use garbage bags and tape!), to block out the early morning light. If you child does wake earlier than you would like try to leave them to amuse themselves until the normal wake up time to give their internal clocks a chance to reset. By leaving them a little longer than normal, you also give them the opportunity to go back to sleep.
If your child has lost a bit of sleep due to the clocks turning back an hour, plan for an earlier bedtime to help them catch up on sleep. The important thing to remember is to be patient and consistent and your child will soon be back on their regular schedule.
Jenn Kelner is a mother of 3 children (including twins!) and a Certified Child Sleep Consultant at BabyZzz. She helps tired families with infants, babies and toddlers become well rested families through customized sleep solutions and support. She offers various services including home, phone/Skype and email consultations.