On March 11th, we will move our clocks one hour ahead. So what does that mean? A 6 am wake up time will really be 7 am, Right? Not necessarily. For those of us who have early risers, they may sleep in for a day or two. Unfortunately, our bodies will adjust to the new schedule and revert back to our natural wake up time. Sorry parents! ☹
So how can we prepare to make the transition as painless as possible?
KNOW YOUR CHILD’S SLEEP TEMPERAMENT
Some children are what we call “sensitive sleepers”. They may be super sensitive to a small sleep window and if you miss that window or even a nap, you have a cranky child on your hands. It may take a few days to get back on track with sensitive sleepers. Others children really just go with the flow. If this child misses a nap, they can get back on track pretty easily. Depending on if you have a sensitive sleeper or a child that goes with the flow, you may decide to start thinking about a plan to adjust to daylight savings time or decide to do absolutely nothing!
GET MORE SUNLIGHT!
Aim for that extra boost of light in the morning as it will help with the adjustment. We should also make sure we block out any unwanted light to eliminate early wakings. With it staying light longer, we may struggle with getting our children to bed. Use blackout or room darkening curtains to your advantage at bedtime as well. If you have an older child that uses a form of “ok to wake” clock, make sure you set the new time an hour later and set the expectations up front.
If you do have a sensitive sleeper and want to have a plan, here is an idea for you! In the days leading up to the time change start with little adjustments to their schedule. Every couple of days, adjust bedtime by 15 minutes. In other words, if bedtime is normally 7:30 pm, move it up to 7:15 for one or two days, then move it to 7:00 for another one or two days and so on. By the end of the week, you will be close to new adjusted time of 6:30 pm and a normal wake up time. You can do a similar adjustment after the time change and achieve the same results.
Regardless of what you choose to do, try to stick to your normal schedule. Even if your child does sleep in at first, they will most likely bounce back within a few days to a week. If you are one of the lucky ones, enjoy the late wake-ups while they last! Our goal as parents is to make sure our children stay well-rested.
So what will you plan to do to prepare for the upcoming Daylight Savings Change? Me personally, I will use the do nothing approach for my “go with the flow” son and the plan ahead approach for my “sensitive” daughter! I would love to hear your thoughts!