Getting your child's schedule "back on track" with the start of daylight savings
It’s that time of the year again when flowers are blooming, the sun is shining bright, local farmer’s markets are popping up and your little one’s schedule needs to be adjusted. Wait – what? Did you say another adjustment? Yes, this is true for many of us who live in areas of the country that practice Daylight savings. Clocks officially spring forward on Sunday, March 10. And although I love having more hours of sunshine and the warm weather ahead, I dislike any disruptions to schedules AND the one hour of sleep that we all lose just simply stinks!
What to do to prepare for daylight savings?
If your little one is waking at 6/6:30am, and going to bed at 6/6:30pm then guess what? You are the lucky few that do not have to do anything. You shouldn’t need to adjust your little one’s schedule as long as you are ok with a new schedule of 7/7:30am wake up and a 7/7:30pm bedtime.
For children that are on a later schedule (waking up past 7:30am and going to bed past 8:00pm) daylight savings will result in an even later wake-up, but this means a later bedtime too. I personally do not care for a later bedtime because I need me time to refresh for the next day, PLUS I like to watch Greys Anatomy without a crazy toddler doing laps around me. So how do you adjust this schedule? It’s simple, just split the difference of the wake-up time.
So instead of letting them sleep in to 9:00am that Sunday, wake them at 8:30am. This ensures that you are not robbing them too much of their night sleep. You will have to adjust their nap accordingly, and you can wake your little one up from their nap earlier to get your bedtime back on track to 8:00pm or whatever it was before the clocks sprung forward an hour. The next morning just wake them at their normal wake up time before DLS, so if they used to wake at 8am, then wake them no later than 8:15am and slowly get them back on track to their old schedule.
As always, the best way to reset our little one’s internal clocks, including ours, is to expose them to lots of light during awake times, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. Keep all routines the same. This is the time of the year that blackout curtains or blinds are especially important. You want it so dark in their room that you can’t read a piece of paper with printed type in front of you. I live in the pacific northwest, so our nights are staying light longer and longer (by summer it’s light to nearly 9:30pm) so it’s super important to make the room dark. The absence of light sends a critical signal to a child’s body that it is time to rest, and melatonin is produced when it is dark to ensure your little one drifts away easily to dream land.
Happy Spring everyone and get out and enjoy the sunshine!