As happy as I am to hear birds chirping and see flowers blooming, there is one thing that I am dreading: Spring Daylight Savings Time. Springing forward is just about the worst thing you can do to a parent if you ask me…do we REALLy need to wake up any earlier? I don’t think so. But thankfully there are parenting experts like the well seasoned mom Eirene Heidelberger who has been through Spring Daylight Savings Time and knows how to get your family through it in one piece. Today she is taking over my blog today to share her tips for managing Spring Daylight Savings Time. After reading this, I guarantee that anyone who is struggling with sleep issues will have Eirene on speed dial (I’m looking at you, dear sister!). Wondering how the March time change will affect your child’s sleep? Here are your answers!
Hello “sleeping in”
If you have an early waker on your hands (5am or earlier) you will finally get to “sleep in.” Oh yeah! If you don’t need to race anywhere in the morning the time on the clock will allow you to laze around a bit longer. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but we are realists at GIT Mom and it’s likely your early waker will go back to his early waking shenanigans. Rest assured, there are tools for fixing your little human’s alarm clock. Just ask us. We are here to help your family sleep in to a more respectable time.
We gotta go!
If, on the other hand, you are a family that needs to adhere to a morning exit strategy, here’s what you are going to do:
Keep your child’s sleep schedule on yesterday’s time. The first day after the clocks change, March 12th, you will wake your child to start her day at the new 7am (yesterday’s 6am). Yes, this will be completely brutal, but after a week you won’t have to enter your child’s room and rouse her from her sleep because she will naturally adjust on her own. The same applies for bedtime, which is still 7pm (yesterday’s 6pm). Yes, your child may comment that it is still light out, but all you have to say is, “It is light out, but, it’s night night time.” And. Stop. Talking. There is never any negotiating room when it comes to sleep!
Keep in mind your baby may not fall right asleep when her bedtime rolls around since her internal clock is telling her that it’s too soon for bed. It’s okay. Let her babble and do her thing in her bed without you. Your toddler may be sleepy in the morning because his internal clock is telling him it’s too early to wake up. As long as you put your child to bed at the exact same time every night he will adjust.
“But, Mommy, it’s still light out”
Even if your child can’t talk these are the three major factors that will affect the daylight savings adjustment:
- Blackout shades
- Consistent routine
Sunlight tells our bodies it’s time to wake up and stay awake but that doesn’t need to impact bedtime. If your strong-willed child will not succumb to nighttime sleep I highly recommend investing in room darkening shades. These are lifesavers now and forever! Be sure to stay super consistent with the sleep routine you’ve already been using to wind down your child to ready her for bed. During this adjustment period it is important to adhere to a predictable bedtime, which will help your baby or toddler adjust to the time change faster.
In the days following daylight savings time, try to be more forgiving if your child is extra whiny or seems to be particularly frustrated or b$tchy.
Just remember –
- The great news is children with healthy sleep habits cope quite well through the March time change. (The October time change can suck it.)
- Generally it takes about a week after the clocks have changed for everyone, no matter what age, to be in a new sleeping pattern.
- Consistent schedule is everything.
- Have patience if you have a tired and grumpy child on your hands in the days after the time change. Your unusual gremlin will be herself soon enough.