Sleep tips to help your toddler, preschooler or big kid adjust to the end of Daylight Saving time change
Child Sleep and the Fall Back Time Change
The leaves are turning colors, the air is brisk and the end to Daylight Savings, or the Fall Back Time Change, is right around the corner. The time change might have you dreaming about that extra hour of sleep! Unfortunately, many parents dread the time change and often wonder if the time change will affect their child’s sleep. Many parents worry the end to Daylight Savings will lead to early morning wakings, a tired, cranky child and an unhappy family. Fear not! I have SLEEP tips to help you adjust your child’s sleep to the time change. Don’t forget, the time change will occur Sunday, November 6th, 2022 at 2:00 am.
How to adjust your child’s sleep for the Daylight Saving Time Change Fall 2022: SLEEP Tips
- Spend time outdoors. Natural light helps our bodies adjust our internal clocks. Playing outside not only exposes a child to natural light which will help adjust their internal clocks it promotes physical activity which can be tiring!
- Lighting. Keep your child’s room nice and dark for sleep. Aim to keep the lights low in the morning and brighter at night for a few days after the time changes. Adjusting the light can help reset your child’s sleep clock. Don’t forget to set your child alarm clock to the new time during the time change.
- Environment. Promote an ideal sleep environment by keeping the room cool, dark and quiet. This will help ensure the sleep is restorative for all naps and night sleep.
- Early bedtimes. Changes in our schedule are easier to navigate when we are well rested. Don’t be afraid to give your little one a few days of an earlier bedtime to help them with this adjustment.
- Patience. Be consistent and patient. It will take everyone a few days to adjust to the new schedule if we are consistent with our sleep rules.
How to Prepare your Child for the Time Change
To help your toddler, preschooler or child prepare for the time change, start early! You can shift their schedule by 15 minutes starting a few days before the time change. For example, on Thursday morning, adjust their wake up time and routine 15 minutes later. Continue to adjust their schedule by 15 minutes each day so they will be adjusted to the time change.
You can also adjust their routine by 30 minutes, on Saturday and then by the remaining 30 minutes on Sunday. You can also start this approach on Sunday and conclude your time change adjustment on Monday.
Believe it or not, most well-rested kids can handle adjusting to the new time of the clock on Sunday. With one catch, lean into an earlier bedtime. Offering more sleep helps your child handle the time change adjustment. If you have been putting your child down for sleep at 8pm, aim to start offering a bedtime of 7pm to help with this transition.
What to do it your child wakes earlier
No one likes early morning wakings! The Fall back time change can cause your child to wake a bit earlier for a few days during their adjustment period. Set their child alarm clock to the new time and remain consistent with following their sleep rules. Continue to put space between screens and sleep to help your child fall asleep easier and sleep until their wake-up time.
How long it takes to adjust to the time change
Generally, it takes about one day to adjust to every hour of change in time, when you are well-rested. However, transitions are hard and they can take time. Allow your child a bit of grace a few days after the time change, as everyone may be a bit sleepy.
Don’t forget that parents need sleep, too! Be purposeful in putting down those screens prior to bed and allowing yourself an early bedtime as well. In a few days, everyone should be back on track.
If your toddler is waking early or your preschooler is waking at 5am consistently, let’s schedule a time to chat about how we can help them get more sleep.
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