Daylight Savings Tips for Fall
By Tara Hess, Tulsa Pediatric Sleep Consulting
Daylight Savings Time will end on Sunday, November 4th, 2012. I remember when “falling back” just meant an extra hour of sleep! When you become a parent it can mean schedules that are thrown off, your kids waking super early, and everyone feeling grumpy for several days or longer. Every child is different and the time change will affect some much more than others. It is important to know your child and what she can handle and to have a plan for how you want to deal with the time change.
There are different ways to make the transition:
Cold Turkey Approach:
Basically, on Sunday, you will use your regular schedule but do everything according to the new clock time. I really only recommend this approach if your child is older than two and seems to have an easier time with changes/transitions. Admittedly, this is usually the approach I take and my children adjust relatively quickly. Maybe it’s because they are well-rested or because I stay consistent. Whatever the reason, I’m not complaining!
For children younger than two, or children who have a harder time with changes/transitions it’s better to make the switch gradually. On the day before the switch (Saturday) move nap times and bedtime just slightly later. Naps might be about 15 minutes later than usual and bedtime might be a half hour later than usual. Use your intuition about what your child can handle and of course, don’t let your child get too overtired and miss her sleep window. If you think she will have a really hard time with the transition you could even start moving the times later by 10-15 minutes a night several days or a week before the change.
Tips no matter which approach you use:
- On Sunday morning, and sometimes for several days or even weeks after the change, children may wake up earlier according to the new clock time. It is very important that you are consistent about not letting your child get up and start their day before 6 am. I highly recommend blackout curtains if you don’t have them!
- Getting fresh air and exposure to bright light first thing in the morning will help reset her internal body clock.
- Try to do everything according to the new clock time starting Sunday. This means all meals and sleep times. If your child is exhausted, it’s okay to let her go to bed 15 minutes or so earlier than usual. Just try to make it as close as possible to the regular schedule according to the new clock.
- Just like adults, kids may not feel like themselves for a few days or so after the change. Stay consistent according to the new clock times, keep naps a priority, and things should “Fall” into place!
Photography Copyright of Moyan_Brenn_BE_BACK_on_10th_OCT on Flickr
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