Daylight Savings – Helping Children Adjust

It's time for bed

I sure wish we would do awake with Daylight Savings as it really does not only affect children’s sleep patterns, but adults, too. Statistically, the Monday after daylight savings, there is an 8% increase in traffic accidents.

It really does effect people of all ages and can increase our sleep debt, especially in children, who are more structured with what time they go to bed every night and what time they wake up every morning.

The best way to handle the one-hour time change is to “split the difference.”

For November 3, just get up at the typical time you usually start the day and leave the clocks alone at first. After your cup of coffee and some breakfast, then you can go around changing the clocks (or looking at the “new” time on your phone).

If, for example, your little one usually takes a morning nap around 9:30, you will put them down at 9:00 for the three days after the time change. It will be a bit of an adjustment for your child, but not so much that it will cause much damage to her schedule. Do the same for the afternoon nap.

Let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7 p.m. I recommend putting that child to bed at 6:30 p.m. for the first three days following the time change. It will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this. It takes everybody’s body roughly one week to adjust any kind of change in sleeping habits.

If your child is over the age of two, you can put a digital clock in the room and put a piece of tape to cover the minutes, so they can only see the hour, if it is 6 o’clock or 7 o’clock. Set the clock forward half an hour so that 6:30 says 7:00, and allow them to get up a little earlier than normal, but keeping in mind by the end of the week, they should be back on track with their normal wake up time.

If you have a baby, you obviously can’t use this method. Do not rush in immediately after you hear your baby waking up as you do not want to send the message that it’s okay to start waking up so early. So if she normally wakes at 7:00, but is now up at 6:00, you will wait till ten after the first day, and then twenty after the next, then 6:30 the next day and, by the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual hour.

On the fourth night, your baby should be in line with the current time for bedtime and naps.

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