LOS ANGELES, March 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — While “springing forward” brings longer, warmer days and the promise of after-dinner family strolls and playground pitstops, the idea of pulling the rug out from under your child’s normal sleep routine can bring parents a shiver of fear!
“Twice a year, parents dread preparing their children for daylight saving time. And that’s understandable,” says pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp, noting that children and their caregivers thrive on routine…and a good night’s sleep. “But the reality is, whether you plan ahead to smooth out the time change, or not, you will get through this small bump in the road to Sleepytown.”
Here are some of Dr. Karp’s insights on handling daylight saving time—whether you’re a week out, two days out, or if “spring ahead” has already sprung!
How long does it take kids to adjust to daylight saving time?
For most kids—and grownups!—it usually takes about a week to fully adjust to the new time.
How can I help my child adjust to daylight saving?
Baby steps are key to making “spring forward” easier on you and your child! My best tip: Every evening for 3 to 4 nights before you change the clock, shift your child’s dinner and bedtime routines back about 15 minutes. That way, they shift a tiny 10 to 15-minutes a day, not a whole hour all at once. And, after the change, try to get a few hours of outdoor sunlight…every day! That helps a ton to reset your child’s inner clock.
What does gradually shifting bedtime look like?
This year, spring forward is Sunday, March 12. So, four days earlier—on Thursday, March 9—start the gradual routine changes. If your child’s bedtime is normally at 8pm, four days before daylight saving time, move bedtime 15 minutes earlier to 7:45pm.
Day Dinner Wind down Bedtime
Wednesday, March 8 → 6:00pm 7:15pm 8:00pm
Thursday, March 9 → 5:45pm 7:00pm 7:45pm
Friday, March 10 → 5:30pm 6:45pm 7:30pm
Saturday, March 11 → 5:15pm 6:30pm 7:15pm
**Move clocks ahead 1 hour**
Sunday, March 12 → 6:00pm 7:15pm 8:00pm
Will an OK-to-wake clock help my child adjust to the time change?
Yes! OK-to-wake clocks can be a great sleepytime tool to gently ease little ones into a time change. For example, SNOObie Smart Soother allows caregivers to use light and sound to help cue your tot that it is time to settle down and prepare for sleep…and when it is time to rise and shine. Here are some SNOObie daylight saving’s tips:
- Set your bedtime routines for 15 minutes earlier (following the schedule mentioned above). Choose from SNOObie with your choice from 12 specially designed sleep and soothing tracks, including classic lullabies, beloved SNOO sounds, and more. (You can program up to four routines at a time.)
- Before bed, set SNOObie’s nightlight to a dim but warm color, like red and orange, which encourages the natural release of melatonin (our brain’s sleepytime hormone).
- For little ones who need help understanding when it’s okay to get out of bed, use SNOObie as an OK-to-wake clock. Set SNOObie to change its color to green and to play a specific sound in the morning to give your little the signal that they can pop out and start the day. This can be super-helpful during a trip of confusing daylight saving time…especially for kiddos who are too young to read a clock.
Should I dim the lights to help with the time change?
Yes! Whether you prepared for daylight saving or not, dim the lights about 45 minutes before bedtime. This helps with starting the wonderful nighttime melatonin release, too. If it’s still light out when your child’s wind-down routine is set to start, consider using blackout shades to keep their room dark. To further set the stage for sleep and help with melatonin release, it’s especially important to shut off all screens at least 45 minutes before lights out. TVs, computers, iPads, and more give off a lot of blue light, which blocks the release of melatonin.
Is it okay to let my child sleep in when we change the clocks?
It’s not the worst thing in the world, but if you can, it’s best to resist the urge to let the house sleep in. While it’s emotionally hard for us to wake a sleeping child, it will help make sure that they’re good and tired to go night-night at their normal bedtime.
How can I help my child adjust to daylight saving if I didn’t prepare in advance?
If you completely forgot about daylight saving—or simply did not have the time or energy to prepare, don’t worry—you can decide to make daylight savings happen a day or so later. Simply do the gradual steps of shifting your child’s bedtime after the rest of the world has done their change. (If your child has an easygoing temperament, two days of 30-minute routine shifts can often be just the thing to help them adjust.)
Finally, whether you’ve got a baby or a big kid, take them outside in the morning…and stay out and have fun as long as you can! That’s because:
- Toddlers and older children burn lots of energy when they are outside. As you can imagine, that can help them sleep better in the evening.
- Exposure to morning sunlight lowers the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, which helps reset a child’s internal clock so they have an easier time going to bed at the new, right time.
SOURCE Happiest Baby