Getting Ready to Spring Forward

While most of us in Atlantic Canada may not be seeing many signs of Spring coming soon, Daylight Savings Time is fast approaching.  For those of you with young children this does mean that the daily schedule you may have just had figured out will be affected…again!

On Sunday, March 8, 2015, the clocks will be springing forward.  This means that if you have a child who normally wakes up at 6:00 or 7:00 am, they are likely to sleep in an hour or so until their body adjusts to the time change.  Here are my tips for making the transition as easy as possible:

  • On March 5th, start all meals* and sleep times 15 min earlier
  • On March 6th, start all meals and sleep times 30 min earlier
  • On March 7th, start all meals and sleep times 45 min earlier
  • On March 8th (beginning of DST), have all meals and sleep times start according to your normal schedule.

*This isn’t always possible due to scheduled daily activities

Other Tips

  • As you’re offering earlier bedtimes in preparation for the time change, your child may not be ready for sleep right away.  However you are encouraging them to relax, and so long as your keep your routine consistent, there should be no reason for you to deal with major bedtime battles.
  • If you use a tot clock or keep a lamp on a timer in order for your child to know when it is “ok to wake,”  remember to adjust the timing on these tools during the transition period.
  • If you find your child is having difficulty adjusting to the time change, use daylight and outdoor activity to your advantage when you can.  Exposure to fresh air and sunlight will help reset your child’s biological clock and prime them for sleep when you get them in before nap times.
  • Of course, your best weapon against daylight savings time is having a consistent and predictable routine for your child.  Starting with a warm bath is the best cue for your child, as it is unlike anything else they do during the day.  Then limiting the bedtime routine to about 30 min, so it doesn’t drag out, you can incorporate your choice of lullabye, story time, family prayer, or daily reflection following pajamas and brushing teeth.  This is a special time to bond with your children, and if you’re consistent with it, not only will your efforts pay off, but your children will look forward to this time with you before bed too!

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