The time change tends to throws kids off no matter which way the clock jumps. The move to Daylight Saving Time is usually easier for kids to adjust to, but it does come with challenges.
Here are five tips from the the child sleep consultants at SleepWell Baby on how to make the change smooth when we spring forward this Sunday, March 13 at 2 a.m.
- Nap Time: Instead of immediately making the switch to new nap times, split the difference. Adjust the morning and afternoon naps by 30 minutes to begin with and add another 30 minutes by the third day. By the end of the week your little one should easily switch over to the new schedule.
- Internal Clock: Help your little one reset her body clock by exposing her to light upon waking and keeping her room dark when it’s time to sleep. Sleep is regulated by our circadian rhythm (our body’s internal clock) and that clock is regulated by light and darkness. Exposing your little one to light and darkness that is consistent with the new clock will speed up the change.
- Change Bedtime: If bedtime is usually 7 p.m., put your child to bed at 7:30 p.m. for the first three days following the time change. Remember that 7:30 feels like 6:30 to your child. Go back to a 7 p.m. bedtime on the fourth day. It will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this adjustment.
- Teach Time: Consider taking this opportunity to teach preschool children to read a clock. If you have children over the age of 2, this is an ideal time to boost independence by adding a digital clock to their sleep environment. Spend time teaching them the numbers six and seven. Draw, color, trace, cut, or make up a little story about Sleepy Six and Seven. Be creative to get your children interested in the numbers.
- Keep Consistent: Remember that children thrive when parents provide a structured environment and dealing with the time change is no different. Keeping your everyday routines consistent will help your little one make the adjustment. Structure your day with regular playtimes, mealtimes and pre-sleep routines all according to the new time.
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