That extra hour of sleep with the end of Daylight Savings Time this weekend might just turn into a nightmare if you have little kids around. Chances are, they aren’t going to get the memo about “fall back” and sleeping in.
Here are 5 easy tricks to help your child adjust to the end of Daylight Savings Time from Family Sleep Institute certified sleep consultant Jenn Kelner.
- Plan ahead — You can prepare a few days ahead of time by moving your child’s entire daytime schedule ahead in 15 minute increments. A few days before the change, start by offering breakfast 15 minutes later than normal, then naptime 15 minutes later and so on until the entire daytime schedule has been shifted. If your child normally goes to bed at 7 p.m., they should be going to bed at 7:15 p.m. Do the same thing the next day but move their schedule ahead another 15 minutes. The gradual shift should help their internal clocks adjust, making it less likely that they will lose an hour of sleep on Sunday, and hopefully sleep in!
- Keep their bedroom dark — Make sure your child’s bedroom is really dark and consider using some room darkening curtains so that the new early morning light doesn’t wake your little one. Keeping the room dark encourages the production of melatonin, which helps them stay sleepy.
- Avoid rushing in — If your 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.
- Expose them to plenty of daylight — Try to expose your child to plenty of light, especially in the morning. This helps reset their internal clock making it easier to adjust to the new time.
- Earlier bedtime to catch up — If your child has lost some sleep due to the time change, plan for an earlier bedtime over the next few days to catch up.
Try not to worry if your children aren’t adjusting as well. Be patient and consistent and before you know it your children will be back on track.