Before you know it, we will be turning our clocks forward to start daylight savings. It is sort of a double edged sword because although we lose an hour of sleep we gain daylight! Where does our little one’s sleep fall with all of this? Well, here are a few suggestions on how you can prepare your little one (and yourself) for the hour change to avoid any major hiccups.
15-Minute Increments - Adjust your little one’s sleep by 15-minute increments every couple of days so that by daylight savings, they are well adjusted. A week before turning your clocks forward, start by waking your little one up 15-minutes earlier than their normal wake time. You will also adjust naps and bedtime accordingly with the 15-minute adjustment. So if your little one’s normal wake time is 7am, wake them up at 6:45am for two days, also adjusting naptimes and bedtime by putting them down 15 minutes earlier. Try this for two days and then increase it by an additional 15-minutes (30 minutes total), and two days later another 15 minutes (45-minutes total). Then you will adjust it by an entire hour, which will bring you to daylight savings, which will then really be their normal wake time due to turning the clocks forward.
Bedtime Adjustment – Adjust your little one’s bedtime by up to one hour on Saturday night. This will help them get their correct amount of sleep without “losing” the adjusted hour. If you choose to do this, you will want to control their day sleep, whether that means skipping a bridge nap, capping an afternoon nap, etc, so that they will accept sleep easily at the earlier bedtime. You will also want to make sure that you wake them up at their normal wake time to keep the rest of the day’s naps on schedule.
Wakeup Call – Wake your little one up at their normal set wake time on Sunday. This means that they will have literally lost one hour of sleep, but keep their naps on schedule as best you can and they should bounce back quickly. If you need to put them down for their naps 15 minutes early, go for it. Once they catch up on that lost hour, you will be able to get them right back on track.
With daylight savings bringing more daylight, it is even more important to make sure that your little one’s room is dark to promote the optimal sleep environment and help with their body’s melatonin production. As always, remember it is also important to get them out in the sunlight during wake times to help regulate their circadian rhythms and promote nighttime sleep.
Whether being ready means that you have started adjusting their sleep ahead of time, you put them to bed a little earlier the night before, you decide the wakeup call is for you, or you just plan to “wing it”, as long as you have a plan, you’re ready in our books! Good luck and hooray for more sunlight! Bring on Spring!