Helping Your Child Adjust to “Fall Back” This Weekend – Daylight Savings Time
Daylight Savings Time ends this Sunday November 2nd at 2am, and the clocks turn back one hour. I remember looking forward to this time change because it gave me an extra hour to sleep in, but now that I have young kids, it might mean an extra early morning! Luckily there are some things you can do to help you child adjust more easily. Follow these 6 simple tips to help you child with the time change this weekend.
Plan a few days in advance
You can prepare a few days ahead of time by moving your child’s entire daytime schedule later in 15 minute increments. Start on Thursday by shifting their entire schedule 15 minutes later, including bedtime. Repeat on Friday by moving it another 15 minutes later. The gradual shift should help their internal clocks adjust, making it less likely that they will wake an hour early on Sunday morning.
Ensure their room is dark, like really dark
When the clocks turn back an hour, what used to be 7:00am is now 6:00am, which means it’s lighter earlier in the morning. 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 child.
Don’t rush 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.
Get them outside
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 you child has lost some sleep due to the time change, plan for an earlier bedtime over the next few days to catch up.
On Daylight Savings Time transition period, try not to worry if your children aren’t adjusting as well. Children who are easy going when it comes to schedules and have good sleep hygiene, may adjust fairly easily in just a day or two. Children who are more sleep sensitive to change in schedules may have more trouble adjusting. Just try to be patient and consistent and before you know it your children will be back on track.
Jenn Kelner is a mother of three children, including twins, and a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant at BabyZzz. Just as every family is unique, Jenn supports many different sleep methods and works directly with families to design a solution that will help them become well-rested, happy families.