It’s hard to believe we’re at that time of year again. Soon the days will get longer and hopefully warmer as we head into spring and summer. Changing the clocks this week will likely affect your child a bit but doesn’t have to be stressful!
Saturday night, March 10th, we move our clocks forward by an hour. Unlike when we move our clocks back in the winter, this time change can be beneficial to those of us with early risers. Bedtime may be a little later but so will your morning wake up. Your child’s temperament and sleep habits will dictate how they do with this change. Some tend to be more rigid by nature and will take a week or two to adjust while others adapt within a day or so. For children who are more easily adaptable, many parents opt for the cold turkey approach and don’t adjust times, choosing instead to go with their typical schedule on the ‘new’ time. Others, perhaps with children under 2 or who tend to cling to routine, go for a more gradual approach, splitting the difference by 15-30 minutes for each mealtime, naptime and bedtime until their schedule is as it was before the change. It’s important to know your child and work with them but regardless of which approach you choose, here are a few helpful tips to get through the transition:
1) Try to expose your child to sunlight first thing in the morning and get some sunshine during the day. Exposure to natural light helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythms and adjust the internal clock.
2) Consider room darkening shades in your child’s room. As the days lengthen, your child may be going to bed while it’s still light outside and the early mornings are definitely going to be lighter than they were. To keep your little one from waking up with the sun’s first rays shining into his room, do what you can to keep the room dark and conducive to sleep.
3) As always, be flexible. Watch for your child’s sleepy cues and help her to get to sleep when she’s ready for it. Don’t worry if your schedule is a little off or inconsistent for a week or so, she will adjust and you have to let it happen naturally.
Sending you all thoughts of good sleep and of spring fast (or not so fast) approaching!