It’s almost that time of year when we turn our clocks for daylight savings time and wreak havoc on our children’s sleep.
It’s time to spring forward!
The good news is, if you have an early riser, you will hopefully get a few mornings to sleep in a little later!
Before children, obviously, the fall-back time change was the one we all looked forward to. Now, as parents, we dread it, and I know personally, with early-rising children, I am all for the spring forward!
Funny how things change!
So HOW to approach this time change?
First, we need to determine what kind of sleepers your children are. Some children are sensitive sleepers, others are rockstar sleepers who can just roll with the punches, and the rest fall somewhere in between.
Figuring out what kind of sleeper you have will help you best decide to tackle this upcoming time change.
Sleep Profile Types
- Early Risers- children who wake at 6am or earlier
- Night owls- children who love to sleep in, waking at 7am or later
- Sensitive sleepers- children who do not adjust well to schedule changes
- Rockstar sleepers- children currently on a good schedule and who adjust well to changes
This is the time change for you, my friends! Stay on your current schedule and try to enjoy a few later mornings while your child’s circadian rhythms adjust. If your child is naturally an early riser, they likely will go back to the earlier wake time (but we can always hope!).
If your child has been waking unnaturally early, this time change could potentially help you adjust moving forward.
I know in my case, my boys, especially, are early risers and always have been. Because of the early rising, we also typically have an early bedtime, so they do not become overtired. This is a good opportunity, if you’re in a similar position, to try to push bedtime out an hour to a more age-appropriate time and possibly help fix that early morning waking.
Night Owls and Sensitive Sleepers
For these families, it is usually a good idea to make gradual changes the week leading up to the time change.
Starting a week out (Monday), wake your child 15 minutes earlier than their usual time, decreasing their night sleep by 15 minutes. Move the entire day earlier by 15 minutes, and bedtime will also be 15 minutes earlier than usual. Stick with this timing for the 2nd day as well.
On Day 3, move the entire schedule back another 15 minutes and keep it the same for day 4.
Day 5, move the schedule again by 15 minutes and keep it the same for Day 6.
Day 7 (Sunday) Resume your child’s usual schedule as it was a week prior to the time change.
If your child is on a good schedule and handles changes well, you can choose to not to make any changes ahead of time.
Still wake them at their normal wake-up time, the morning of the time change. If they normally wake at 7am, wake them at the new 7am. This will help keep them on track and settle into naptime and bedtime on the new schedule.
Daylight Savings Tips
Reevaluate your child’s sleep environment
Ideally, it should be cool and dark with white noise. It is incredibly important for the room to be dark 10/10 especially when it’s still light out at bedtime.
Utilize the sun
Expose your child to 30 minutes of bright sunlight in the early morning to help them adjust.
Watch light exposure
Avoid playing outside, with bright screens, and bright indoor light for the hour before bedtime. Dim the lights during that hour to help your child regulate their sleepy hormones and be sleepier at bedtime.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, CONSISTENCY FOR THE WIN! After the time change, it’s important to maintain your routine and stay as consistent as possible. You will find that if you follow these tips, the effects of the change shouldn’t affect you for more than a week at most.