Your Baby’s Sleep and Daylight Savings
It’s that time of year that parents dread-daylight savings. Aaaahhhh!! Gone are the days that you gain an extra hour of snoozing in your cozy bed and instead you have early wake-ups and difficult bedtimes- oh joy! Are you wondering how to set things up this fall so the time change for you and your child goes as smoothly as possible with minimal sleep disruptions? Read on for strategies on how to help your baby with the fall time change.
This strategy takes a little bit of planning ahead, but it just may be worth it to put the work in ahead of time, especially if you have a child with a sensitive temperament or a younger baby.
Starting the Wednesday before the time change, start bedtime 15 minutes later than your child’s regular bedtime. Shift bedtime another 15 minutes later each night until you have moved bedtime a full hour by Sunday. As for naps, starting on Thursday, put your baby down 15 minutes later than normal and shift later by 15 minutes every day until you have moved your baby’s entire schedule (including meals) an hour later by Sunday.
This strategy works best for older babies or children, babies that adapt to change easily or if your child is not already an early riser. Start by putting your child to bed an hour later than normal (or as close to an hour that your child can handle) on Saturday evening and then shift all naps and mealtimes and hour later the next day. With this strategy, it is crucial to expose your children to lots of natural light during the day and keep things dim and quiet in the evening. Make sure that your child’s bedroom is dark to minimize the likelihood of early wake-ups (blech!) and maintain your minimum wake-time (6am) to make sure that early rising doesn’t become habitual.
Some Things to Keep in Mind
• Children do well with routine and sleep cues, so keep the same routine you had before and stay consistent to your response to early wakings.
• Turn lights down an hour before bed to cue the production of melatonin and help your child wind down from the day.
• Use black-out blinds, tinfoil or garbage bags to darken your child’s bedroom and keep light from interfering with early morning sleep.
• Be patient and remember that it can take a few days and up to a week until your child has fully adjusted to the time change, but you will get there. If you are struggling, remember that you always have coffee!