Daylight Savings Time Tips for You and Your Child

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  • March 10, 2011

daylight savingsWeekly Question for the Sleep Lady:

Dear Sleep Lady,

I am nervous about Daylight Savings Time this weekend! I finally got my daughter sleeping thru the night (with a few early mornings on

occasion) and I don’t want to ruin our great progress! Can you give me some Daylight Saving tips?

Nervously, Beth

Dear Beth-

You are not alone! So many parents who finally get their child to sleep dread anything that may rock the boat…not to mention tip it over! Luckily, “spring forward” can be handled with ease if you plan ahead!

Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday, March 13 when we “spring forward” and move our clocks ahead one hour. We will be losing an hour (usually of our precious sleep) and throwing our internal clocks off.

I recently read that there are more traffic accidents and work related injuries on the Monday after Daylights Saving Time begins.

Apparently this is because our already existing sleep deprivation (which is very common) is made worse by the loss of an additional hour of sleep! Yikes! Further proof of how important sleep is!

Here are some sleep tips to help you and your child make the Daylight Saving time change easier:

Daylight Savings Time Tips for Adults

  • Go to bed 15 minutes earlier than usual tonight.
  • On Friday go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual (beginning to see the pattern?).
  • On Saturday try to go to bed 45 minutes earlier than your usual bed time.
  • Eliminate all caffeine before 1:30 p.m. this week in order to make it easier to go to bed earlier.
  • Avoid alcohol this weekend which negatively effects sleep.

Daylight Savings Time Tips for Children

  • For children older 2 years old you may be able to follow the adult directives of putting them to bed earlier each night. For younger children make sure they are well napped on Saturday and go to bed on the earlier side.
  • When your child wakes up on Sunday morning (any time after 6am) make sure she gets some sunlight first thing in the morning. Do this on Monday also – it will  help her reset her internal clock. This will help you too! “Spring forward” can help some children who are having early rising struggles (waking before 6am) which is great news!
  • Schedule your next day’s meals and activities according to the new clock time.
  • Your bigger challenge will be to help your child get to the new (later) bedtime without being overtired! That means you have to make naps an absolute priority. Watch her sleep windows, look at the sample schedule in my book for her age, have a comforting pre-nap routine and get her down for a good, restorative nap or two (depending on her age). Don’t forget an early enough bedtime!

Stay consistent, making naps a priority and you should sail thru this time change. Great news on your sleep coaching success!

Sweet dreams,
Kim

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Kim West
Kim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been a practicing child and family therapist for more than 24 years, and the creator of the original gentle, proven method to get a good night’s sleep for you and your child. She is the author of The Sleep Lady's Good Night Sleep Tight, its companion Workbook and 52 Sleep Secrets for Babies. Click here to read more about her.

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