Revealed: How to Make Daylight Savings Easy!
Ugh! Daylight savings time is coming up this weekend! And we lose an hour of sleep. But I actually prefer the "spring forward" change because at least our little ones are sleeping later in the morning instead of being awake super early.
Now that I'm a parent, I wish daylight savings time would just go away. One fall, it took my son Parker 2 weeks to adjust! He was waking up at 5:15am every morning for those 2 weeks. The time change affects children more than adults because children tend to be more structured with going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning.
But changing time affects adults, too. In fact, statistically, there is an 8% increase in traffic accidents the Monday after daylight savings time kicks in.
Every year people ask me for the best way to handle daylight savings time and children’s sleep. So here it is:
My advice is to “split the difference.”
Instead of adjusting the full hour all at once, I suggest adjusting 30 minutes for the first 3 days. Then go back to your normal schedule on day 4. Let me explain.
For “Spring Forward,” my recommendation to all parents is just to leave the clocks alone
until the morning after. Just get up at your usual time and start the day. After your cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast, then you can go around changing the clocks. It will feel much better this way, trust me!
Then start the change at naptime on Sunday. If, for example, your little one usually takes a morning nap around 9:30, you will adjust this to 10:00 for the three days after the time change. (This will feel like 9am!) It may take her a little longer to fall asleep but that's ok. Do the same for the afternoon nap.
Let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7 p.m. I recommend putting him to bed at 7:30 p.m. for the first three days following the time change. (This will FEEL like 6:30 to your child.)
Then change bedtime to 7pm on night 4. It will take about a week or two for your child’s body to get used to this. It takes everyone’s body roughly one week to adjust any kind of change in sleeping habits.
If you have children over the age of 18 months, I like to use a clock that lights up at the time you set to be morning. Just set the wake-up time forward by half an hour so that it lights up 30 minutes before they usually get up for the first 3 mornings. Then change it to the full hour on day 4. Your child is going to be earlier so his body will soon adjust to waking up earlier, too.
If you are dealing with a baby, the clock doesn't work. But eventually she will start waking up earlier because she is going to bed earlier and getting the sleep she needs.
On the fourth day, just get in line with the new time so your baby is back to going to bed when the clock says 7:00 pm. Adjust naps to the correct time on day 4 as well.
As always, don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about your child's sleep!