Daylight Savings Time (and spring weather!) are upon us…
“Spring Forward” will occur on Sunday, March 12th 2017. This is the time to move your clocks one hour forward and enjoy the longer days! Many parents of little ones dread this time change as the fear of throwing off sleep schedules may arise. Here are some DO’s to set your child up for success!
DO start preparing the week before. Move your child’s bedtime back by 15 minutes every few nights. So, if regular bedtime is 7pm, for example, shift bedtime to…
6:45pm- nights one and two (March 6 and 7)
6:30pm nights three and four (March 8 and 9)
6:15pm nights five and six (March 10 and 11)
6:00pm starting March 12- which will actually be 7:00 again!
***Naps can be adjusted in the same way***
The subtle change will help sensitive babies and toddlers to adjust more easily. Some little ones won’t have as much as an issue adjusting, but all babies are different! Most infants and toddlers will naturally adjust within a few nights just as we do as adults 🙂
DO make sure your child’s sleep setting is appropriate. As daylight savings in the spring brings sunlight earlier in the morning, one concern is early rising when the sun comes up an hour earlier! Our bodies have a natural circadian rhythm that helps us regulate sleep. Melatonin is the sleep hormones that is produced (beginning around three months of age) when it is dark out to encourage sleep, and shuts down with daylight to encourage alertness and wakefulness. Blackout or room darkening curtains will help your baby adjust to the earlier light!
DO maintain consistency with your child’s usual bedtime routine. It is important to stick to the usual routine as much as possible during any schedule change (a move, vacation, daylight savings or time change when traveling to new time zone, etc). This will help maintain normalcy and make the transition go more smoothly!
DO expect potential changes in mood and behavior. Just as your baby may be extra fussy or have more temper tantrums than normal during an illness,teething, when reaching a new milestone or having a wacky schedule for the day or a missed nap, be prepared for behavior changes in the first few days following the time change. Keep your schedule as regular as possible, while still acknowledging and being more sensitive to the difficulty it may be causing for your child. Extra snuggles and quality time are okay! However, be mindful of adding any new habits that may be difficult to break down the road.
DO take care of your sleep needs, too! Make sure you are adjusting your schedule and getting the sleep your bodies need. Adults often feel cranky or sluggish for the firs time after a time change, so it is important to listen to your body and adjust your schedule as well. Parents are kids greatest role model and even at a young age, babies and toddlers pick up on cues and moods that parents display. Developing and maintaining healthy sleep habits for yourself sets the stage for healthy sleep habits for your child, too!
If you have any questions regarding your child’s sleep, contact me to set up a FREE 15 minute consultation to learn how I can help your family get the ZZZ’s you need! Phone: (301) 580-4856 Email: [email protected]