The Spring time change is almost upon us and though this brings warm weather and longer days, it strikes fear in the hearts of parents when it comes to their child’s sleep. You wonder whether your child’s great schedule will get messed up or worry about an already over-tired child losing an hour of sleep. Deep breaths may be necessary because it will all be ok! There are a few ways that you can prepare for this.
Stay the Course
As with many sleep related issues, being consistent and waiting it out can be the easiest option. If you have your child on a great schedule already, just keep the wakeup and bedtime the same using the NEW time. You would change your clock before you got to bed on Saturday night and wake your child at the same time you usually do on Sunday morning. You carry on with your day and schedule as usual and although it may take him longer to fall asleep at naptime or bedtime, he will adjust in just a few days.
Plan Ahead: Adjust your schedule BEFORE the time change
This requires a little bit more effort, but can give you some peace of mind when you lose that hour on the big day. About 3 to 4 days before the time change, you will move your baby’s schedule back by 15 minutes each day. So you would wake them 15 minutes earlier, put them down for a nap 15 minutes earlier, then do bedtime 15 minutes earlier. The next day, you would do the same but working with a 30 minute change. The day after that, you would push your schedule back by 45 minutes. The idea is to shift their schedule closer and closer to what it will be when the clocks spring forward.
Sleep Environment: Make it dark!
The best way you can help your little one adjust is by making sure her room is conducive to sleep. Since the sun will be setting later and rising earlier, you can avoid bedtime battles (“why am I going to bed, the sun is still out??”) and early risings (“mom, mom, mom, the sun is up, let’s play”!) by ensuring the room is super dark with black-out-blinds. Temporary black-out blinds can be purchased at most hardware stores and are inexpensive and easy to install. Another quick fix that sounds wonky but works extremely well is to tape tin foil to the inside of the window pane. It makes the room nice and dark and keeps it cool as an added bonus. Remember that darkness promotes melatonin release and will help your kiddos get the sleep they need. A white noise machine can block out all those early morning sounds and create a cozy environment to promote sleep. For older children, a toddler clock is a great idea to keep the older ones in their room longer in the mornings.
Consistency is key!
These time changes occur twice a year and if you stay consistent and keep to your normal sleep rules and expectations, everyone will adjust quickly. In the meantime, enjoy the extra daylight and the fact that Spring is almost here!