Helping Little Ones Adjust to Daylight Savings (Spring Forward):

daylight savings

It’s time to enjoy spring. Just as soon as we get past the dreaded daylight savings time! Nobody likes losing an entire hour of sleep. Losing an hour of sleep is hard on everyone, especially a growing child.

I love making sleep easy, natural, and enjoyable, which is my goal when it comes to daylight saving time.

The three-step process in a nutshell:

Step 1: Choose the time frame and increment of time you want to shift your child leading up to the time change
Step 2: Begin by waking your child up earlier each day according to the increments you chose leading up to the time change.
Step 3: Put your child down earlier for naps and bedtime in tandem with the earlier rising time.

Let’s discuss the three steps more in-depth:

Step 1: Choose an increment of time you want to shift your child earlier. Instead of changing by a full hour cold turkey, you can choose 30, 20, 15 or 10-minute increments depending upon how sensitive your child is and how long you want the shifting process to take. For example: if you want the process to take about a week, 10min daily increments would work well. If you want the process to happen after the school week, 30 or 20 min increments over the weekend would work well.

*Note*If your child’s bedtime is irregular and your child is experiencing early rising (awake for the day earlier than 6 am), daylight saving time is an excellent opportunity to begin creating a consistent sleep time for your child. I encourage you to start putting your child to sleep earlier. You may begin noticing your child sleeping later… If so, stick to the earlier bedtime – your child needs it!

Step 2: For families who have consistent bedtimes and desirable rising times: Wake your child up earlier each day according to the increment of time (30,20, or 10…) you want to shift leading up to the time change.

Step 3: In tandem with the earlier rising, put your child down earlier for naps (if your child is napping) and move bedtime earlier with the time shift you chose. Move meal times and any set active or social times along with the time shift you chose as well.

For example: If you’ve woken your child up 10min earlier in the morning, you would put your child down for nap 10min earlier as well. Bedtime routine and lights out would be 10min earlier as well.

Unfortunately, changing your child’s sleep times by an hour will cause dysregulation and make your child feel a bit “off.” A child who feels dysregulated will also often show this in his behavior as well. It’s okay!

It is normal and healthy to feel off during a readjustment to a new rhythm. The time change is essentially causing jet-lag for us all, and it takes time for our bodies to readjust to the new sleep times. Give your child and yourself grace during this adjustment time… Everyone should begin to feel normal again, a week or two after the time change.

Myra is a Pediatric Sleep Specialist and an Infant Mental Health Professional. Myra’s passion is to help families “get the sleep and lose the tears” she uses Holistic, Gentle, and Proven Methods.

    Myra Hartzheim

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