Today is the first official day of fall, my favourite time of year. Changing leaves, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and gaining an hour of sleep when the clocks turn back thanks to daylight saving time.
That changing of the clocks is different when you have kids though, isn’t it? As much as I wish my toddler would just sleep in an extra hour, I think it’s safe to say he’ll go for option two, a.k.a. expecting us to get up when the clock reads 6:00 a.m. instead of the more friendly 7:00 a.m.
So what can you do to shift your child’s internal clock to align with the new post-daylight saving time?
The best advice I can give is to adjust his or her schedule gradually, over the course of four days. For the “fall back” time change, that means shifting their entire day 15 minutes later on day one, another 15 minutes later on day two, 15 minutes later again on day three, and finally the last 15 minutes on day four. After four days you will have moved their timing an hour later so that it’s in sync with the new time.
For example, if your son or daughter usually wakes up at 7:00 a.m., on day one you will get them out of bed at 7:15 a.m., feed them their meals 15 minutes later than usual, put them down for their nap(s) 15 minutes later, and put them to bed that night 15 minutes later. The next day, you would get them up at 7:30 a.m. and so on.
At the end of these four days you will have shifted their schedule by one hour, in 15 minute increments.
You can begin doing this four days before the clocks change. You can also begin the day the clocks change and continue for four days after the daylight saving change, or you can begin two days before and finish two days afterwards…whatever works for you.
If you have a child in daycare or school and don’t have the luxury of four days at home to shift their schedule, just do the best you can. You can shift their timing by 20 minutes on Saturday, another 20 minutes on Sunday, and then the last 20 minutes will naturally happen on Monday when they’re back to daycare or school.
You may find this adjustment throws your child off ever so slightly but, don’t worry, just remain consistent with your timing and responses and they will become accustomed to the new schedule very quickly.
#DST #sleeptips #pediatricsleep #fastasleep