It’s happening… this weekend you might be lucky enough to gain an extra hour of sleep or you might be dreading the end of daylight savings, anticipating early wake ups from your kiddos.
Don’t fear, help is near!
There are a few things you can do; one is starting prior to the time change (as soon as 5 days), or starting after the change, or doing nothing. Let me explain:
1) Starting before the time change
Extend your baby’s schedule by 10 minutes every day for five days prior to daylight savings ending, to help make the hour shift necessary to adjust their body clock. If bedtime has been at 7pm, it will be at 7:10pm the first night, the next night at 7:20pm, and continue this until you reach a bedtime of 8pm (which will be 7pm after the time change). The same should be done for naps during the day. This shift should be gentle enough to not disrupt wakeup up time too much, keeping the schedule on a forward movement until you reach the new desired time for night time sleep and naps. If your kiddo continues to wake up 10 minutes short everyday, try not to get them up until they have reached their desired time in order to help their body make that transition. It can take a week or two to see that wakeup extend, but be consistent and patient.
2) Starting after the time change
Use the strategy of “splitting the difference.” For the first three days after the time change, adjust bedtime and nap times with 30 minutes. Start with your little one’s first nap. If, for example, that usually occurs around 9:30am, it will now be at 9am (which would have been 10am). It will be a bit of a push, but not so much that it will cause much damage to the schedule. Do the same for any subsequent naps.
As for bedtime, if it usually is at 7pm, have your baby in bed by 6:30pm for the first three days following the time change. (This will FEEL like 7:30pm to your child). It will take about a week for their body to adjust.
If you have children over the age of two, you can put a digital clock in the room, taping over the minutes, so they can see if it’s 6am or 7am. Just set the clock forward half an hour so that at 6:30 it says 7:00 and let them get up a little earlier than normal, knowing that, by the end of the week, they will be back on track and sleep until their normal wakeup time.
If you have a baby, that will not be helpful. If baby usually woke up at 7am, but now with the time change, they’re up at 6am, try to wait ten minutes before getting them up the first day, wait another 10 minutes the next day, and another 10 minutes the next for a 6:30am wakeup, continuing until by the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual hour. Remember, any changes in sleep takes most babies time to adjust to. Give it time and know that your baby will get back on schedule.
On the fourth night, make the last 30 minutes of splitting the difference adjustment and implement the new time so your baby is back to going to bed when the clock says 7pm. Adjust naps to the correct time on day 4 as well.
3) Doing nothing
This might be a great choice if you’ve been wanting to get your child on a slightly different schedule. Maybe bedtime has been around 8pm and wakeup has been around 7pm but you’ve been trying to think of a strategy to change their schedule to a 7pm bedtime and a 6am wakeup time. Now is your opportunity to make that change without doing anything! Leave everything as it is and voila, as the time change rolls around, your child will be on the new desired schedule.
If you’re feeling like this is for a child that is already sleeping great, but your’s is not quite there, I am here to help! Click on this link to schedule a complimentary 20 minute call to see how I can help you.