Before you became a parent, “falling back” with daylight saving time meant one more luxurious hour of sleep. But when our time changes this weekend, your kids may have trouble with the change. According to the National Sleep Foundation there are steps you can take to minimize the affects of daylight saving time in your family.
- Gradually introduce your child to his new bedtime by putting him to bed 5-15 minutes later for several nights before daylight saving time begins. By the time you move your clock back one hour, your child may be used to going to bed at the new time.
- Waking your child up at the same time each day instead of letting your child sleep in can also help.
- Keep nap times regular and at the same adjusted time that he usually takes them.
Polly Moore, Ph.D., is a sleep researcher, frequent Parent Connection speaker and author of The Natural Baby Sleep Solution: Use Your Child’s Internal Sleep Rhythms for Better Nights and Naps. Dr. Moore says being aware that there will be a change and being prepared for it is what’s most important. “Be looking for signs of sleepiness and follow those signs instead of the clock. Put your child down to sleep when he looks sleepy instead of trying to force a change.”
According to Dr. Moore, “springing forward” is going to be more difficult on you and your family than “falling back” will be this Sunday,November 5th. “It’s easier to lengthen our day than shorten it,” she says, just as it’s easier to travel West than to travel East. In fact, the adjustment to daylight saving time can feel a lot like jet leg. And whatever approach you take to dealing with it, you and your child will adjust within a few days to a week.
For most parents, helping our children get the proper amount of sleep is one of our greatest struggles even without the added challenge of daylight saving time. Dr. Moore says that’s completely normal. “I have 20 years experience in sleep disorders and sleep disorders research but didn’t become an ‘expert’ in infant sleep until I had kids. And I was amazed how hard it was, given all my education and training,” she says.
I don’t know about you, but that does give me some amount of comfort. 😉