The end of Daylight Saving Time is almost here and families with young children are bracing for impact. Normally, everyone welcomes “fall back” for that extra hour of coveted sleep. Unfortunately, little ones don’t share in our excitement for more sleep. Instead, time changes become a source of frustration for families and their children. To offset the upcoming fall back, here are some ways to help make the transition a little easier for your family.
Adjust bedtime. Three or four days before Daylight Saving time ends, start pushing back bedtime in 15-minute increments. For example, if your little one goes to be at 7:30 PM, your four-day bedtime schedule would be: 7:45 PM, 8:00 PM, 8:15 PM and 8:30 PM.
Eat a little later. If possible, a day or so before the time change, try pushing back your mealtimes. If an hour is agony, try 15 – 30 minutes.
Modify naptime. Pay attention to your child’s cues. If they woke up earlier than usual, they will likely need to nap sooner. Focus more on how long they’ve been awake rather than what time it is, especially in the first month after the time change.
Find the sunshine. Tap into your child’s circadian rhythm and get sun exposure throughout the day. It’s most helpful in the morning and again in the late afternoon between 4:00 and 5:00 PM. Try to keep electronics off 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime, too.
Be consistent. While we are suggesting some adjustments to your schedule, it’s important to keep your routines intact during time changes, especially the bedtime ones. Routines provide children with predictability and comfort, so bath, brush teeth, book and bed should stay the same even during unpredictable times.