On Sunday March 8th, Daylight Saving Time starts and the clocks turn forward one hour. Sunrise and sunset will be about one hour later on Sunday, which means it will be darker in the morning and lighter in the evening. Don’t stress, this time change is definitely the easier one for children to adjust to. Here are 5 tips to help your child adjust to the upcoming time change.
1. Shift their schedule gradually
Whether you like to plan ahead or you’re more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” type of person, you can help your child adjust to the new time by shifting their schedule gradually. If you choose to plan ahead, start moving your child’s entire daytime schedule earlier in 15 minute increments beginning on Thursday. Give them meals 15 minutes earlier, naps 15 minutes earlier and put them to bed at night 15 minutes earlier. Then repeat the next day. If you would rather wait until the clocks have been turned forward, then move their schedule back in 15 minute increments beginning on Monday morning. The gradual shift should help their internal clock adjust, making it less likely that they will lose sleep.
2. Power down before bed
About an hour before your child’s bedtime on Sunday, draw the curtains, dim the lights in the house, and avoid the use of any electronics. Minimizing the exposure to bright lights will help your child wind down and encourage the production of melatonin. Use room darkening curtains so that the new early evening light doesn’t make it difficult to fall asleep.
3. Start the day off right
If you aren’t planning on shifting your child’s schedule gradually, get your child on the new time as quickly as possible. On Sunday, go in and wake your child at their normal wake up time so that you can start the day on the new time. Make sure all of your child’s activities and naps happen on the new time as well. If you have a baby or child that usually wakes up extra early, take advantage of this time change to shift their wake up time later.
4. Expose your child to plenty of daylight in the morning
Try to expose your child to plenty of natural light, especially in the morning. This will help reset their biological clock making it easier to adjust to the new time.
5. Relax and be patient
Some children adjust to the time change easier than others, but the key is to relax, be patient, and be consistent, and their internal clocks should be back on track in just a few days. You may lose an hour of sleep, but if your child is an early riser already, they may sleep in!