Daylight saving time can throw anyone’s schedule off, especially a small child. Fortunately, while it might put a kink in your schedule for a few days, you can easily get back on track! Here are a few tips to make the transition to the time change much easier.
- Gradual Transition: Gradually shift your child’s sleeping schedule to help ease them into the time change. Starting on Sunday move back toward the original time for naps and bedtime by 15 minutes every two days. This way, by the end of the week, you will have moved back slowly to your child’s regular schedule.
- Keep the Routine: The most important element of the time change is your child’s soothing routine. A consistent soothing routine will be what your child looks for to know when sleep will follow. They aren’t paying attention to the clock, they will simply follow our cues. Here is an example of a consistent soothing routine:
- Reading: 1-2 books for younger children, 2-3 books for toddlers.
- Cuddle Time: Spend a few minutes just cuddling with your child. If you are trying to get them familiar with a comfort item, always include that item during cuddle time.
- Singing: Find a song that the child enjoys and sing that same song every night. This song will be one of the strongest cues that will signal bedtime for your child.
- Key Phrase: Say a key phrase as you lay them into bed. A key phrase can be as simple as “It’s night-time, mommy and daddy love you.” It will be the last cue they will hear before you place them in their crib.
- The 6 A.M. Rule: If your child wakes before 6:00 a.m. (we don’t consider anything before six morning) keep them in their dark room until 6:00. Sunlight and darkness are the biggest influences on our child’s circadian rhythms and melatonin production.
- Take Advantage of the Time Change: If you have a four-month old whose schedule you are trying to establish, this time change will help you shift their nap times later in the morning so that they begin to fall during their biological sleep wave.
Keep these tips in mind to help ensure a successful transition as you spring ahead on Sunday!