Don’t lose sleep over daylight savings

The time has come.. again. Daylight savings time. I remember being younger and loving the idea of an extra hour of sleep. My fond thoughts of daylight savings came to an abrupt halt when I became a mom. My babies (like all babies) do not care that the clock has “fallen back” and will wake at their regular time.  It really does have an effect on all of us, and it can increase our sleep debt – especially in children, who tend to be much more structured with going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. That is usually why people notice it the most in young children. So how do you handle this? I have included two methods in this post. One to start before the change occurs and one that can start after. Take a look and see which method best suits your family.

The first is more of a gradual transition. Starts the Tuesday before and you move your baby’s schedule forward by ten minutes a day. How do you get your toddler or preschooler to stay in bed those extra minutes in the morning and eventually fall back asleep? I recommend getting a simple digital clock and covering the minute side with tape. Draw a 7 over the tape and explain that it is morning at the magic 7. Then reset the clock each night so that the clock will turn to 7 when it is actually 7:10 am and so forth. When your child gets up or calls out at the magic 7 reward them immediately with something meaningful to them (like a container of special dollar store purchases to choose from). Do this every time they stay in bed till the 7, and eventually it will become a habit that doesn’t need to be rewarded.

GRADUAL

Transition

Normal Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

(time change)

Wake time 7:00 am 7:10 am 7:20 am 7:30 am 7:40 am 7:50 am 8 am

Now 7am

Nap 1:00 pm 1:10 pm 1:20 pm 1:30 pm 1:40 pm 1:50 pm 2:00 Now 1pm
Bedtime 7:00 pm 7:10 pm 7:20 pm 7:30 pm 7:40 pm 7:50 pm 8 pm Now 7 pm

 

The second method works begins the Sunday of the time change. Don’t change the clocks back until after your morning coffee, which will most likely be early! The gist of this plan is that you will put them to bed a little earlier and let them get up a little earlier for three days and on the fourth move them to the new time. For the toddlers and the preschoolers I would ensure their clock says 7 at bedtime (even though it will be 630pm) and 7 in the morning to avoid confusion. If you have a baby that does not tell time, you may need to go and sit with him or her while she is in her crib and take her out at the new time we would like her to wake. This can take some time! I personally like the gradual transition described above for babies.

AFTER time change transition Normal Sunday

(time change)

Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Wake time 7:00 am 6:30

(new time)

6:30

(new time)

6:30

(new time)

7:00 am (new time)
Nap 1:00 pm 12:30 pm

(new time)

12:30

(new time)

12:30

(new time)

1:00 pm

(new time)

Bedtime 7:00 pm 6:30 pm

(new time)

6:30 pm

(new time)

6:30

(new time)

7:00 pm

(new time)

Which method do you think would work best for your family? Any other tips that have worked for you?

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Any questions? Contact me here and I will get back to you!

Sincerely,

Carrie Bruno RN, IBCLC

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