Baby Central, Kid Central, Sleep Central, Toddler Central, Uncategorized

Don’t Let Your Child’s Sleep Fall Apart – DST “Falling Back” Sleep Tips

Finally, your kids have adjusted from the grand switcharoo the Spring, but now Daylight Savings Time is coming to an end.  While some babies, toddlers, and children are minimally impacted by the time change, others are thrown for quite a loop! Especially those children (and even adults) that are more sensitive to any sleep changes and/or whom are particular to set routines will probably notice. By notice, I mean that they won’t be sleeping as well as they typically do. This upheaval is temporary, and I’m going to give you some practical advice to restore sleep normalcy in your house (did you ever have that to begin with?).

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First thing’s first, if your child is used to going to sleep at 7:30pm every night, but 7:30 is approaching the new 6:30pm, let’s devise a plan. A week or so before the Fall time change, start placing your child to sleep 10-15 minutes later every other night. Nice and slow, so they won’t be so sensitive to this change, nor think they are being bamboozled! In turn, you will ideally shift your child’s entire schedule. That means, a little later bedtime, and hopefully a tad later of a morning wakeup, nap schedule and so forth. So, in theory, the evening before Daylight Savings Time ends (Saturday night), you will be placing your little one to sleep approximately 8:15pm or 8:30pm. Remember, you have gotten to this point over a week’s time by slowly making changes. Sunday night, when you go to place your child back to their routine 7:30pm bedtime, as it will be yesterday’s 8:30pm. Voila.

Sounds easy enough, right? Nice and steady is the key to winning the race. Eh, or helping your child sleep better without a major disruption from the end of DST. If you are reading this post-time change, consider yourself the majority! Not all hope is lost; inch near your child’s ideal schedule slowly, and prep your child for sleep with extra wind-down time each night.

The schedule adjustment alone may NOT be enough for it all to go off without a hitch, so here are some pointers to smooth the process both before the time change and after!

For Your Baby

  1. Begin to adjust the schedule slightly at night, as detailed above.
  2. Instill extra wind down time to prepare baby for bedtime. This means dimmer lights, softer music, and nothing too wild – set the scene that sleep is coming!
  3. The darker the room the better for all sleep periods. This is contingent to where you live at; if you live in Central, Ohio like myself, it will be dark enough both at morning wake time and bedtime, and this is virtually a non-issue.
  4. Have a somewhat flexible schedule over the next week. Naps may be a bit off, and night sleep may certainly change. Mornings may be rocky in the beginning – so please know that this is simply how it goes. If this is your first dance with DST and baby sleep, you will curse it forever and ever. It will pass, but have realistic expectations of your baby and help her with the points above.

 

For Your Toddler or Child

  1. Begin to adjust the schedule slightly at night, as detailed above.
  2. Wind down time is key – no tablets, television, or stimulating and/or rambunctious play at least 1.5 hours before bed. Remember, you are reading this info because you are most likely having a sleep disruption in your house. Set the stage that it is time to calm our bodies, because bedtime will be approaching soon. Don’t make it a threat – make it fun. Entertain with your child’s favorite one on one activities leading up to bed – ahem, that don’t involve technology.
  3. Have a conversation about DST with your child depending on your little one’s receptive language skills. Additionally, be adaptable overall with your child’s schedule during the next week,but be consistent with your timeline at night.
  4. The darker the room the better. If your child prefers a nightlight, I have a super helpful tip for the best one to curb DST nuances and also to help your child understand time through colors. The Smart Light is a bulb that you can use in your child’s lamp (please place out of reach, such as on a higher shelf). It connects to your Smart Phone and you can set it up manually to a dim red for night sleep (red promotes sleep). Pair the light with the phrase, “red means stay in bed, and go back to sleep”). At an appropriate time, set the light to change automatically to green! “Green means go – time to play and start your day”. Did you read the part where I said appropriate time? That doesn’t mean 10am; have it be within 15 minutes on the earlier side of when your child typically wakes for the day. The light shouldn’t be so bright to wake your child – you can adjust the settings. Your kid will love it and you can thank me later: Magic Light Smart Bulb.

Remember that your little one has sleep requirements based upon her age – an example is that most young children need about 11 hours of night sleep. Do a little math based upon her usual wake time and see where that lands you. I bet it hovers around 7:30pm give or take a bit. My biggest tip is to remain optimistic – the time change often affects us adults, too! But you will persevere – until Spring, when we get to do this all over again. And, if you need my help, let’s connect and find the package that is the best fit for you!

Amy Douglas is a Certified Sleep Consultant at Baby Sleep Central. Recently named as one of the Best Sleep Consultants in the United States, Douglas works with parents of children from Birth – Age 6. Help your baby, toddler, or child sleep more independently, starting tonight.