Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday.
Hopefully this means that spring is around the corner with warmer weather, longer days for the kids to play outside, and spring flowers blooming. The good news is that “springing forward” is less problematic for our little ones than “falling back,” the end of Daylight Saving in the fall. Some lucky parents may even be able to get their early risers to wake a bit later in the morning. Renee Wasserman, Certified Child Sleep Consultant by the Family Sleep Institute and Founder of SleepyHead Solutions in St. Louis, offers some child sleep tips for getting back to a regular schedule after the Daylight Saving shift:
•Before bedtime on Saturday night, turn your clocks ahead one hour. If your child usually sleeps until 6 a.m., the next morning she will, most likely, sleep until 7 a.m. For those of you who have early risers, you can use this time change to your advantage to help your little one get on a later schedule with an entire day that shifts an hour later (naps, bedtime, meals, etc.).
•If the later wake time works in your favor, then you do not need to do much. With the sun rising earlier in the morning, use room darkening or black out shades to keep out any early morning sunlight that may creep through (even black garbage bags taped to the windows work well). A sound machine will help muffle outside noises such as barking dogs and early morning birds that may be waking your baby.
If your little one needs some help to get back to a regular schedule, try these suggestions:
•On Saturday night, put your child down for the night at the regular time.
•On Sunday, wake the child at the time that normal waking time (6, 6:30, 7 a.m.) according to the new time. It will feel like an hour earlier, but the child will adjust.
If your little one is still napping, use regular nap times according to the new clock. Do not let naps last longer than usual.
•On Sunday night, put your child down at the regular bedtime (according to the new time).
Continue with a well-established schedule according to the new time (same wake times, nap times, bed times and feeding times).
Be sure to expose your child to lots of natural light in the mornings and continue with all of your normal activities to help reset her internal clock to the new time.
Just because it is light outside later into the evening, be sure to put your little one to bed at the time she needs. An overtired child leads to difficulty falling asleep, more nighttime wakings, and early wakings in the morning. A well-rested child leads to a happier child – and a happier mom and dad.
However you decide to handle Daylight Saving, be patient with yourself and your child. Keep in mind that it may take up to a week for your child’s sleep schedule to adjust.
To schedule an interview with Renee Wasserman from SleepyHead Solutions contact Tasha Mayberry, Director Public Relations for the Family Sleep Institute, at email@example.com or call 207-317-6099.