Find out how to adjust your child’s sleep for daylight saving with gradual shifts, cozy environments, and consistent bedtime rituals. Sleep success awaits!
By Harper Steele
It’s that time again (for mamas in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT). The powers at be want to play with our clocks and interfere with our already delicately balanced routines. Yay for daylight saving! (Can you sense the sarcasm?)
While many might anticipate that extra hour of sunshine in the evening or relish the chance to snuggle under the covers for another hour in the morning, our little ones may not adjust so effortlessly.
But don’t fret, because I’ve got your back. Here’s a mama’s guide to adjusting your child’s sleep for daylight saving. It might just save your sanity too!
1. Gradual Shifts
Instead of suddenly asking your little one to sleep an hour earlier or wake up an hour later, let’s play it slow. About a week before daylight saving kicks in, adjust bedtime by 10-15 minutes earlier or later (depending on whether you’re springing forward or falling back). Each day, shift another 10-15 minutes until you’ve made up the full hour. By the time daylight saving starts, voilà, your child will already be on the new schedule.
2. Adjust the Environment
Lighting plays a crucial role in setting our body clocks. Ensure your child’s room is dark at the desired bedtime. Invest in some blackout curtains if you haven’t already. This will signal to their little bodies that it’s sleep-time, even if outside it’s still light.
3. Stay Consistent
Remember that consistency is key. Aim to keep nap times, meal times, and other routines consistent with the new adjusted time. If you’re moving everything in 10-15 minute increments, ensure it’s ALL moving in those increments.
4. Get Out and Play
Sunlight in the morning can help reset your child’s internal clock. After the clocks change, try to get outside in the early morning. The natural light will signal their body that it’s time to start the day.
5. Be Prepared for Some Resistance
Children can often resist changes in routine. Be mentally prepared for some pushback. It’s okay. Stay calm and be understanding. Their body is adjusting, and they may feel a bit out of sorts. Patience is key.
6. Monitor Room Temperature
With the change in time can come a change in temperature. Ensure the room is comfortably cool for sleeping. Not too cold and not too hot. Layer them up in appropriate pyjamas to ensure they’re cosy but not overheating.
7. Limit Sugar
Especially in the evenings, try to limit sweet treats. This will help them wind down and not be buzzing when it’s sleep-time.
8. Establish a Strong Bedtime Routine
If you don’t already have a bedtime ritual, now’s a good time to start. This could include reading a book, singing a lullaby, or even a warm bath. Activities that signal the body it’s time to wind down can ease into sleep.
9. Give It Time
All changes take time. Some children adjust within a few days, while others might take a week or more. Trust that with your consistent efforts and loving patience, your child will adapt.
10. Look After Yourself, Too
With all the focus on our little ones, it’s easy to forget ourselves. Ensure you’re also adjusting your sleep patterns, taking time to relax, and seeking support if needed. A well-rested parent is a more effective parent.
In the grand scheme of things, daylight saving is just a small event in our parenting journey. Remember, it’s temporary and before you know it, you’ll be back on track. So, deep breath, you’ve got this. And always remember – in the world of parenting challenges, this too shall pass!
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