Daylight Savings Time 2016 begins again on Sunday, March 12 at 2:00 a.m. That means that you’ll need to turn your clocks forward one hour to 3:00 a.m. It also means that your young baby or child, who normally wakes up at 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. may wake up 1 hour later at 7:00 or 8:00 am. Springing forward often feels like we are losing an hour of the day, but if you have a super early rising child, it can help them wake at what is a more reasonable time. Regardless of your age, many people can find it hard to adjust to the time change. Here are a few tips to help keep your kids on track as we “Spring Forward.”
- If you don’t already have a solid bedtime routine, get started! Your bedtime routine will be your child’s best tool to make it through the time change with the least amount of difficulty. Keep the bedtime routine to 30-40 min. Start with a warm bath, followed by brushing of the teeth, diapers and pajamas, and finishing off the routine in your child’s room with choice and/or combination of lullabies and stories. The key is to keep your routine consistent and prevent it from dragging out. Avoid food or snacks once the bedtime routine has started.
- Expose your child(ren) to as much fresh air and sunlight during their waking periods as possible. This will help “reset” your children’s biological clock and help them adjust to the times that they should be awake or sleeping. You’re also likely to notice if you replace “Screen Time” with more outdoor or physical activity, or even quality time together, your child has an easier time falling asleep. Definitely limit screen time and exposure to “blue” light about 1 hour before you want your child to be sleeping, as this can interfere with melatonin production.
- While this isn’t necessary for all children, you can help your child adjust better to the time change by making bed and mealtimes earlier in 15 min increments on a daily basis a few days before.
• On March 9th, start all meals* and sleep times earlier by 15 min
• On March 10th, start all meals* and sleep routines earlier by 30 min
• On March 11th, start all meals* and sleep routines earlier by 45 min
• On March 12th (Beginning of DST), have all meals and sleep times happen according to your normal schedule.
* This isn’t always possible due to scheduled daily activities like school or other lessons….especially if you happen to be o March Break this week – you may have family activities that get in the way of making things happen earlier than they usually would.
4. If you have a toddler or preschooler that tends to be an early riser, there is good news. Typically, because springing forward means we lose an hour, it also means that your child will be sleeping an hour later, according to the clock. However, the sun will be rising earlier over the next few weeks and this can begin to trigger your child to start waking earlier as well. So ensure that you have really good quality black out shades to keep your child’s environment dark and prevent the early morning sun from encouraging and earlier morning start. For older toddlers and pre-schoolers, having a conversation with them to discuss the time change can be helpful too. If you are already using a tot clock, or a similar “ok to wake” tool, like an Ooly, adjust the timing along with the instruction in tip #3. You can also use a lamp on a timer, so that the lamp turns on in the morning when it is ok to wake up and leave the room. If your child does wake up before it’s “ok to wake” let them know it’s ok to be awake, but it’s not polite to wake up everyone else in the house who want to sleep. They can stay in bed and try to go back to sleep, or if they really can’t sleep, then they can quietly find an activity to do in their room. You may choose to introduce a “quiet activity” box in their room that will include things like colouring books, puzzles, Lego or Duplo blocks, etc.