It’s that dreaded time of year again. Goodbye to standard time. Daylight savings time begins. Every time shift can be challenging, though “springing ahead” is thought to be the easier of the two. But that’s little consolation when the sun is still shining bright at your little one’s bedtime!
For parents of newborns and most babies under six months old – rejoice! Younger babies hardly notice the change and it has little effect on their sleep patterns. It’s not often that you get good news about newborn babies and their sleep! Of course many of you are still working on predictable and consistent sleep. And you and your partner will be affected by the time change so try to adjust your own sleep routine to minimize this impact.
For parents of older infants and toddlers (and older kids too!), your child’s circadian rhythm will be affected by this jump ahead and we know of no parents who look forward to this biannual scourge…er, um, event!
Four tips of helping your child adjust to the daylight savings time change:
1. Lots of outside time and sunshine
Good for everyone, everyday. And even more so when our circadian rhythm and sleep patterns need adjusting. Morning sunshine is especially helpful!
2. Blackout curtains and dim lights
Honestly? We recommend blackout curtains for everyone! A consistent sleep routine is easier to accomplish when you control the light. An hour ahead of bedtime, pull the blinds and dim the lights. This shift stimulates the production of melatonin and helps set your little one up for a better night’s sleep.
3. Gradual sleep schedule adjustment
You can gradually adjust the sleep schedule ahead of time or start the morning after. You can use 15- or 30-minute increments, mostly dependent on the age of temperament of your little one. Kim West, aka The Sleep Lady, has some great tips on schedule adjustment for “springing ahead” (and she is an overall fantastic resource for all things related to sleep for babies and children!).
That’s right. You can opt for doing nothing ahead of time or any specific adjustments afterwards. This works better for babies and children with “easy to adapt” temperaments. If this does not describe your child, your whole family may do better overall with some proactive strategies to work with your child’s temperament and minimize the stress.
Bonus Tip: Patience
Regardless of what approach you end up taking, the adjustment to daylight savings time takes about a week. Offering some patience to your little one, your partner, yourself, and anyone else you interact with is never a bad approach, especially the week after daylight savings time begins! In a few short weeks, you’ll be enjoying some time to yourself with the later setting sun after your little one is asleep – hopefully with some gardening, walking with a friend, reading a good book, or any other activity you enjoy!
As we all know, sleep is a topic of interest for all parents, especially new parents. Read on to get more information on:
Understanding and shaping newborn sleep habits.
How our overnight newborn care can help you rest while setting a foundation of healthy sleep habits with your little one.