In Canada, on Sunday March 10th 2019 the clocks will be going forward one hour! When the clocks go forward you are ultimately losing an hour of sleep. Although parents may not be dreading this time change as much as when the clocks go back and your little ones are waking up an hour earlier in the morning, this time change can come with its own set of problems. You may have to deal with babies and toddlers who have not built up enough sleep pressure to fall asleep at their usual bedtime, or you might be scrambling in the morning when your child is not ready to get up for daycare or preschool! This small change can mess with the entire families sleep schedule and make everyone feel exhausted, so here are some tips to help.
Tip 1 – Gradual Transition
If you can, try a gradual transition before the day of the time change. For 3 days before the time change move morning wake ups, naps, and bedtime 30 minutes earlier. For example, if your little one usually wakes up at 7am, wake her at 6.30am. If she naps around 9am, put her down at 8.30am and do the same for the afternoon nap. If she goes to bed at 7pm, put her down at 6.30pm.
Your little one may be a bit undertired and may play or fuss prior to falling asleep, but on the day of the time change (Sunday), move morning wake up, naptime and bedtime back to its original time but in ‘new time’. This gradual transition can have less of an impact on sleep and your child will likely adjust much quicker.
If you have a toddler and are using a Gro clock or digital clock, you can adjust these accordingly on the 3 days of transition and then of course on the day of the time change.
Tip 2 – Ensure the sleep space is dark!
Spring can be difficult because it is lighter, longer. Close the blinds in your home after dinner during the gradual transition period, and ensure your child’s sleep space is very dark. The dark environment will trigger the Pineal Gland in your child’s brain to produce melatonin, a hormone that aids sleep.
Tip 3 – Don’t skip the bedtime routine!
If you don’t get chance to do the gradual transition, one thing you can do, however tired you are, is make sure you do the bedtime routine. It might be tempting to skip it, because in ‘new time’ it might be getting late and you want your little ones to get to bed, but this is not the time to be skipping that bath and book! Research shows that a consistent bedtime routine helps babies and toddlers sleep easier and it will send a strong signal to your little one that sleep coming.
Tip 4 – If all else fails, try to be patient! Within a week or so your little one will adjust (sooner if you transition gradually) and know it will get better.
It you have any questions about the time change or you want to find out how The Mama Coach can help you with getting your child sleeping better, contact a Mama Coach near you to arrange a free 15 minute telephone call to find out how we can help. As registered nurses, we look extensively at feeding, development, weight gain, and your child’s circadian rhythm to determine the best way to find sleep.