By: Kimberly Wagner-Dabbour/
I bet you’ve noticed that the daylight is coming back. Yay! This also means that the spring time change, AKA, the beginning of daylight saving time is around the corner. Sunday, March 10th at 2 a.m. to be exact.
Love it or hate it, we have schedules to keep and making sure you and your little ones don’t lose an hour of sleep is important. In the spring, the clocks go ahead one hour, which means that if you do nothing to prepare for it, you and your family may find it difficult to make your minds and body’s fall asleep 1 hour before they are used to. However, it can also be a blessing for families with a child that likes to wake up before 7 a.m.
If you want a simple, but gentler approach to just making your child go to bed and nap 1 hour earlier, I recommend doing it in 2 steps. For example, if your toddler usually takes a nap around 12:30 p.m., adjust this to 12:00 p.m. for the three days before the time change.
At bed time, do the same thing. If their bedtime is 7:00, put them to bed at 6:30 p.m. for the first three days before the time change. This will feel a little bit early for your child, and they may not fall asleep until their regular bedtime, but it is helping their mind and body adjust to the change. On the fourth night (the day of the time change), put your child to bed at their normal nap time and bedtime, which will now be 1 full hour earlier than 4 days prior. Your child may experience some continued restlessness with falling asleep initially, but in about 1 week, everyone should be falling asleep like normal and getting a good night’s rest.
Another option is to move up your schedule 10 minutes ahead each day until you are at the right time. Most parents like to start doing this the Wednesday before the time change, so that when Monday rolls around, everyone is pretty much adjusted to the time and ready to go. This is great for school aged kids and adults because the transition is gradual enough to be hardly noticeable, not mess with our schedules and there is less fatigue during the day.
Also, pushing a baby’s sleep schedule 30 minutes at a time is rarely a good idea. Some are very sensitive to the timing of their sleep and will be much harder to soothe before sleep, if they are not tired. So, moving 10 minutes a day works especially well with baby’s who are on a predictable schedule!
MORE SLEEP TIPS!!!
- Don’t wake a sleeping child to accommodate a sleep change, if you can help it. Moving naps and bedtime forward is the best way to get your little one on the new schedule. And if your child normally wakes early, you’ll get a nice break for a week or so with the clock moving forward, so enjoy it.
- The sun will be rising an hour earlier than normal, so make sure that their rooms remain dark. I use and recommend the BlackoutEZ Window Coverings to the families I work with, but in a pinch, some aluminum foil or large black plastic bags and painter’s tape will get the job done too.
- When your child wakes up, get them out in the sunlight. This helps to set their internal clocks, making the transition smoother for everyone.
- If your child has a later bedtime and is difficult to wake in the morning, they may not be getting enough sleep. According to the guidelines developed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics on 6/13/16 to promote optimum health, the following number of hours of sleep is recommended:
0 – 3 months of age: 16 to 18 hours per day
4 – 12 months of age: 12 to 16 hours per day
1 – 2 years of age: 11 to 14 hours per day
3 – 5 years of age: 10 to 13 hours per day
6 – 12 years of age: 9 to 12 hours per day
13 – 18 years of age: 8 to 10 hours per day
The AASM found that if children met their sleep needs on a regular basis, it led to improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life, and mental and physical health. Not getting enough sleep each night is associated with an increase in injuries, hypertension, obesity and depression.
Sleep is so very important for our children and us. If you need to use the time change to enforce some needed boundaries around sleep, do it! Your future, well-rested self will thank you for it.
Kimberly Wagner-Dabbour… is the founder of Beddy Bye Sleep Solutions. She’s a proud graduate of Tecumseh High School and Siena Heights University. After working for over 15 years in law enforcement and corrections all over southeastern Michigan, she moved to Georgia to start a family and new career in pediatric sleep. She now resides right in the heart of Lenawee County with her nearly 4-year old daughter who fills her heart with so much joy and keeps her on her toes. As a Pediatric Sleep Specialist and speaker on all things baby and child sleep related, she knows that the hardest part about making changes to your child’s sleep is all the questions and conflicting information surrounding it. This is why she supports all the families with age-based specific sleep science and experience, to ensure a better sleep outcome for everyone. Love sleep? Follow Kimberly on Facebook at Beddy Bye Sleep Solutions for weekly live sleep tips, sleep facts, latest sleep research, events, giveaways and more. Need sleep help for your family? Reach out to her at Kimberly@beddybyesleep.com with any baby/child sleep related questions, completely free. You can also visit her website at www.beddybyesleep.com