Daylight Savings Time Starts on Sunday, March 12, 2017 and your clocks will move forward one hour.
SO WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ANYWAY?
This is the time change where we lose an hour sleep as time moves forward in the middle of the night. The next day, when we wake up at our normal 7am is now 8am on the clock and 7pm is now 8pm on the clock.
The good news is your early risers will now wake up at “decent” hour and, for the time being, mornings will be darker longer which should help your little ones with prolonging sleep.
But, there are things to think about. The time will change and depending on your child’s sleep sensitivity that also means it may impact them in some way. If they have a good sleep foundation and slight changes don’t bother them all that much, you may not need to worry so much. If on the other hand, your child gets thrown off by even the slightest night time change, you may want to have a plan of attack.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS ON HOW TO DEAL WITH DLS:
1. DO NOTHING
This approach is exactly as it sounds. Put your child to sleep the night before DLS at the normal time, and allow them to wake at the new clock time of their normal morning wake. This does, indeed, mean they will lose an hour sleep, but the benefit of this method is there’s not a lot of adjustments or forethought.
With this method, there are a few variables: it could mean that your child wakes up at their old wake time (so an hour earlier than usual). If that happens, I would encourage them to go back to sleep for an hour, and then the rest of the day can continue as usual.
If that doesn’t work, however, consider allowing them to nap a little longer, or put them to nap ½ hour earlier than their normal nap time, so they can catch up from the night/early morning. If you child no longer takes naps, or that suggestion doesn’t prove fruitful, you may have to adjust bedtime a bit earlier, but not by much. You want them to get on the new clock schedule quickly.
By using this approach, any sleep confusion should be behind you in a few days.
This is a more gradual approach that requires a little bit more forethought. This approach is better for older children or sleep sensitive kiddos. You can do this either the week before or the week after the time change occurs.
Before DLS: Over the course of the week before DLS, you can start shifting your child’s schedule earlier by 15 minutes, every two to three days. So a nap at 9am will start at 8:45am am and then bedtime will move by 15 minutes as well. By the end of the week, you will be close to the new adjusted time with an earlier bedtime starting at 6pm on the clock instead of 7pm on the clock, allowing them to wake up at their normal wake time on the clock.
After DLS: This works very similar to above, but by waiting until after the clock changes, gives you the benefit of moving earlier from the set time. If you child usually wakes up at 7 a.m., she will now wake up at 8 a.m., so the whole day will need to get adjusted from there. So for the first nap (assuming your child is a 9:00 a.m. napper, typically), your child would go down at 9:45am on the clock (8:45 a.m. to your child) adjusting the time closer to the 9:00 hour on your clock by moving 15 minutes every two to three days.
USE WHAT YOU CAN TO YOUR ADVANTAGE:
Humans are naturally sensitive to light and darkness. The sunlight plays an important role in making us feel awake, whereas the darkness makes us feel sleepy and cues to our brain that it’s time to rest. Use the light and darkness to your advantage. Let the sunlight flow during daytime hours, especially in the morning when everyone wakes up. Going outside during the day will also help to benefit from the fresh air and vitamin D from the sun, and then for sleeping hours, block the sunlight with the use of black out shades and dim the lights throughout the house to promote sleepiness.
In addition to light and darkness, there are other things to consider:
• If you do find that your child is affected by the time change do your best to get back to your normal schedule. Get out of the house in the morning to get your child active and offer relaxing activities in the closer to bed times.
• If your child is on a solid sleep routine and is generally well-rested, then they will adapt to the time change fairly smoothly.
• If you find that your baby or child is becoming overtired due to the new time change, put them to bed a bit earlier for several nights, with the expectation that will sleep until their regular wake time in the morning. Once they no longer appear to be over tired, you can then move their bed time back to the normal time.
• The loss of an hour isn’t ideal, but don’t sweat it too much. It shouldn’t take more than a week for everything to get back on track.
Make sure you change your all the clock in your home and car, so that no one gets confused as to what time it really is!!!