Given that it’s October, many parents are likely thinking about Halloween, what will your children dress up as, who’s going to pass out candy, and how many treats will you let your little ones eat. While Halloween is an exciting time, not even a full week after Halloween is Daylight Savings Time!
“Falling Back” during Daylight Savings Time used to be exciting for me before I became a parent, now as a mom it’s something I have to plan for...and I no longer get that extra hour of sleep. While many parents dread Daylight Savings Time, there are things that you can do to help your children adjust so the transition isn’t as challenging.
The first step is to consider the adaptability of your child in regards to sleep:
• If you’re child is adaptable, you can go with the “Do Nothing” approach. With this approach, expect your child to wake an hour earlier than normal. You will get your little one up, and then go about the rest of your day as usual, keeping naps and bedtime close to your typical schedule. You can shift things 15-30 minutes earlier to help prevent your child from becoming overtired. After a few days your child should be adjusted to the time change.
• If you’re child is NOT adaptable, you will want to shift their schedule in advance. When using this approach, it’s best to gradually shift morning wake time, naps, and bedtime 15 minutes later every 3-4 days. For example, if your child usually wakes at 6:00 am, naps at 12:30 pm, and goes to bed at 7:00 pm, you will start by getting them up at 6:15 am, moving their nap to 12:45 pm, and bedtime to 7:15 pm. After 3-4 days push another 15 minutes later, and continue to do so until their wake time is 7:00 am, nap-time is 1:30 pm, and bedtime is 8:00 pm. When Daylight Savings Time hits you will revert back to your schedule the way it was before shifting. As you can see this approach takes time, so it’s best to start a few weeks before Daylight Savings Time.
Other Tips To Make The Transition Easier:
• Be sure your child’s room is conducive to sleep. Keeping their room between 68-72 degrees, and utilizing blackout curtains/shades makes for a healthy sleep environment.
• Expose your child to sunlight by getting them outside as much as possible during the transition, this will help reset their internal clock.
• If your child wakes early after the first morning of daylight savings time, don’t get them up for the day until their usual wake time. This will help their body adjust.
• When deciding which approach to take from the options above, consider if your child is an early or late riser. If your child is adaptable with sleep, but you have problems with early rising (waking before 6:00 am), it may benefit you to go with the “Shifting Schedule” approach.
While you may not get that extra hour of sleep you used to before becoming a parent, deciding on your approach in advance, following the tips above, and staying consistent will make “falling back” less stressful for everyone!