There is much to love about Daylight Saving Time - more time to enjoy light, less power consumption, and a lower crime rate. But if you have a young child at home, Daylight Saving Time and sleep can be a challenge.
The fact that 7pm looks like 6pm doesn't really matter to a child. Their natural body clock, otherwise known as a circadian rhythm, works regardless of weather or season. While adults can adjust to sleeping later and getting less sleep, kids' bodies go into panic mode.
Does this mean you are doomed to be awakened in the middle of the night by a child who can't sleep? No, with a few tips and tricks, you can help your little one adjust to Daylight Saving Time and fall in line with the rest of the family.
How To Prepare a Baby for Daylight Saving Time
The first thing you must do in preparation for Daylight Saving Time is to get enough sleep. Your entire family, especially the young ones, needs to sleep more in the days before the change to Daylight Saving Time. Make a point of getting to bed 30 minutes or an hour earlier. This will help everyone be more relaxed during the few days you have to adjust your clock.
Other things to consider:
1. Invest in blackout curtains
A child's circadian rhythm is affected by light and darkness. During the day, their bodies know it's time to play, and then they sleep at night. But when sleep time comes around and it's still bright outside, it's easy for the child to get confused and want to stay awake a while longer. A darkened room will help.
2. Make your time adjustment gradual
One mistake that parents make during Daylight Saving Time is to abruptly adjust the child's schedule to match the clock. This often leads to a grumpy child who is not getting enough sleep.
Instead, move their entire schedule 15 minutes ahead or behind. By entire schedule, we mean everything from mealtime to nap times, so daily rhythms can work as they normally would, just offset slightly. Do this for a few days and then adjust it to 30 minutes. By the end of the week, you will have gradually adjusted their timings without shocking the body.
3. Maintain the sleep routine
If you have a sleep routine involving bathing, a massage, storytime, and kisses, do not deviate from it. You may want to get some extra yard work done since it's still daytime outside, but remember, kids need routine, so it's best to keep to it without too much disruption. Making a change to baby's sleep sack, crib sheets, or sound soother is not a good idea at this time. Wait a few weeks to get these baby essentials, all great choices when buying used baby items.
How Long Will It Take for Baby to Adjust to Daylight Saving Time?
As with any change, adjusting to Daylight Saving will take time. A few days will suffice for some kids, but some need a week or two. The trick is to stay the course and adjust the schedule gradually so as not to throw them off.
How To Get Baby to Sleep After Daylight Savings Time?
Once Daylight Saving Time is over, you and your little one need to adjust again to a fall-back routine. The above tips will still work as long as you stay consistent. Follow the sleep routine to the letter, and adjust gradually. If the noise outside prevents your child from sleeping, invest in a noise machine to drown it out and soothe baby to sleep.