I can’t believe it’s time to move the clocks again. Daylight Saving Time always seems to seek up on me, and I can’t believe it’s almost time for spring! For you Northerners, I’m sure you’re welcoming the warmth, but for us Floridians it means back to the heat and humidity. Well with the warmth comes the time change and it’s time again to lose a precious hour of sleep!
Before we had kids, this was still a sad time for everyone, but we managed to get by with just being a bit grumpier at work for a few days. But wait, now you have a baby (maybe more than one baby) and your beautiful baby’s schedule is about to get thrown a curveball and if you’re not careful, bedtime and naps are going to be a nightmare.
Wait, maybe you don’t have a schedule and bedtime is already a mess and you already dread sleepy time. If this is the case, then we should talk. We should talk now! There is no need to keep struggling with sleep issues, I’m here to help! Click here to schedule your free sleep consultation with me today! Anyway, back to the sleep tips…
Now, if you’re wonderful little baby is currently going to bed at 7:00 pm, the baby will now be going to bed at 8:00pm, which means you lose an hour of your precious alone time. And most likely this means your baby will lose an hour of their precious sleep, since most children wake up at the same time every day no matter what time you put them to bed. Their internal clocks don’t know that our digital (and analog, if you still have one of those) clocks have changed. This can cause sleep debt which leads to overtiredness, which leads to a fussy unhappy child! Don’t let this happen to your family! What do you do?! Read on for my 3 easy steps to adjusting your little one to the new time change.
My 3 easy steps to adjust your child’s internal clock!
Step 1 – Do Nothing!
Yes, my first step is not a step per say, but a way of dealing with the loss of an hour in a gentle way. Do not change your clocks the night before, that is depressing and a bit confusing since you probably won’t be feeling tired despite what the clock tells you. So, get up and get your coffee, tea or morning beverage of choice and then adjust the clocks around the house as you get to them throughout the day. I promise this will take some of the stress and/or depression off actually losing an hour of sleep!
Step 2 – Use the “Halfsies” Approach or “Splitting the Difference” Method
I know “halfsies” isn’t technically a word (as the angry red squiggle on Word makes it very clear) but it’s the best way to phrase it! Ultimately, you will be adjusting your child’s internal clock in half-hour increments, thus splitting the hour time difference, get it?
As we previously mentioned above, over-tiredness leads to bad things, especially in children! So, to avoid your child becoming so overtired that bedtimes are total disasters, we adjust them in smaller increments of time. Alternatively, if you try to adjust them to a full hour earlier, they aren’t tired enough and you put them down to bed too early! If they aren’t tired enough to sleep yet, they are going to be very upset and possibly have a meltdown, which will cause them to miss their sleep window, ending up with them being overtired! It’s a vicious, yet delicate cycle!
Now, adjusting an adult’s schedule a full hour can wreck our week, so imagine the stress that puts on our little ones! Instead of all that, let’s move their bedtimes forward by just 30 minutes. For example, if bedtime is usually 7:00 pm (before DST) then on Sunday evening we will move bedtime to 7:30 pm for the next 3 days. This means Sunday, Monday and Tuesday bedtime will be 7:30 pm. Then on Wednesday night you will adjust their tiny internal clocks another 30 minutes, which would be back to 7:00 pm when Daylight Savings Time changes. Come the following Sunday your little bundle of joy will be back on schedule, without too much fuss! Hooray!
Step 3 – What about naps?
I know it isn’t exactly another step but a “sub-step” like Step 2 – Part B, but people like steps and the number 3, so I’m making it work! Anyway, I would never forget about naps. My clients wouldn’t let me. Plus, nap times are as important as bedtime, and as we all know sleep begets sleep. Now, you can use the same “halfsies” approach as you are using at bedtime, putting them down 30 minutes later than their usual nap time. Starting Sunday, you would put your little one down for their nap(s) a half hour later and continue to do so for each nap(s) for the next 4 days. Then on Thursday, you would move the time another 30 minutes, bringing them back to their original schedule nap time, Ta-Da! That simple…simple but not always easy! Naps will probably be the hardest part of the transition, since naps are a weak point in a little one’s sleep schedule. So, stick to the plan and if you need a car or stroller nap, go for it!
Attention of Parents of Children 18 months & older!
If you don’t already have a “Toddler Clock” or a “Okay to Wake Clock”, then I would highly recommend investing in one! Don’t know what they are? Search Amazon for “Toddler Clock” and prepare to be overwhelmed by choices. Not good at researching or maybe you have no idea what you’re looking for, or what qualities you’ll want? Then click here to contact me and I will send you a list of my favorite clocks.
If you already have a super awesome toddler clock or alarm clock that your kid likes, then hooray, you don’t have to purchase anything! All you have to do is adjust their clock to match your half hour time shifts (don’t forget)!
That’s it, it’s that simple! My 3 steps to handling the time change!
It is important to note, this is a rough week adjustment for everyone – even with my super simple steps. So, cut yourself a parenting break and get the extra cup of coffee and maybe a bit of bonus screen time for the older kiddos! If you’re reading this then you’re an amazing parent and you’re trying to do the right thing even if Daylight Saving Time sucks (yeah, I said it)!
Also, if you’re here and you and your little one(s) aren’t getting enough sleep and everyone is battling the “overtired monster”, then please call! Life is so much easier with sleep! I know I can help, then your only sleep concerns will be in November when DST ends, and we have to do all this nonsense in reverse!
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Sweet Dream & Best Wishes,
Your Pediatric Sleep Specialist