The end of Daylight Savings is right around the corner! This is great, right? An extra hour of sleep! This most likely won't be the case if you have young children. For some reason they don't seem to get the memo. Can't they sneak subliminal messages into their cartoons about this?! Don't worry there are a few things you can do to make this a smooth transition.
The first method is a gradual approach. With this approach you would start about two weeks ahead of time. To implement this you adjust your child's sleep times by 15 minutes every 3 days. So if your child's first nap starts at 8:30 you would push it to 8:45, second nap that starts at 12:30 would now be 12:45, and your 6:30 bedtime would be 6:45. Three days later you would move those time back by 15 more minutes, and so on. This method is beneficial for children that really get thrown off track with disruptions to their schedule.
The second route you could take would be a middle of the ground approach. Starting three days before you could adjust your child's schedule by 30 minutess and then the night we change the clocks you would push it back again by 30 minutes to the new bedtime. So again, if your child's first nap starts at 8:30 you would push it back to 9, second nap that usually starts at 12:30 would then start at 1, and so on, you get the idea! This method is great if you want to do a little bit of preparation for the time change but just can't do the full two weeks. This option is good for kids that are a little more adaptable with their sleep.
The last method is, "Oh crap! I forgot that tonight is the night we push our clocks back"! In the midst of changing diapers and cleaning spit up off of your shoulder you have totally forgotten about the time change! And who can blame you? It's not like you are worried about getting an extra hour at the bar anymore! If you forgot, take a more laid back approach, or have a child that is not as disrupted by changes to their schedule, don't sweat it. Hold them out the extra hour if you can. If they just can't tolerate that extra hour, hold them out as long as you can. Chances are you may have a couple of rocky days but just stay on track and maintain consistency and they will adjust.
As with all sleep with children, you want to avoid letting them get overtired, as this is usually the cause for night wakings and early risings. If you find that they are getting up super early, 5am, then you may need to give them an earlier bedtime for a few days so they can get caught up on their sleep. Once you think they are rested enough move that bedtime back to the normal time. If you are still having problems with early risings, once they are rested, leave your child in her room until the time you are ready for her to get up. Ok, maybe not the time you are ready for her to get up, but until an appropriate time for a child, like 6-6:30am. This will teach her that it's not time to get up yet and she should play quietly until mom or dad come to get her. If you're lucky she may even fall back to sleep!
Sometimes even the best laid plans go awry. So don't get super stressed if things don't go as smoothly as you anticipate. Just get right back on track and maintain consistency and things will fall back into place!