By: Rebekah Thomson, Pediatric Sleep Coach
I know I’m not the only one noticing how much shorter our days are getting already. Daylight savings 2015 will end on November 1st. Clocks are moved back one hour from 2 a.m. DST to 1 a.m. For parents of early risers, the upcoming change can be nerve-racking. “He’s already waking up at 5:30 a.m. Does this mean he’s going to start waking up at 4:30 a.m. now?!” Thankfully the answer is no. You are going to gradually shift his schedule to the new time, just like when you are traveling.
So what will it look like? You have a few options. One is to allow your child to wake up at his natural time on the morning of the 2nd. According to the clock, it will be an hour earlier than usual. If he usually wakes up at 6:30 a.m., he will likely awaken at 5:30 a.m. That’s fine. It will be short-lived! Try to keep things low key for 30 minutes until you are ready to start the day. Base the day’s routines (meals, naps, etc.) around the new clock time. If your son’s bedtime was 7:30 p.m., the clock will now read 6:30 p.m. Aim for good naps that day so he can make it to at least 7 p.m. (new time). You can gently push his bedtime back to 7:30 p.m. over the next few nights.
Alternatively, if going “cold turkey” doesn’t appeal, you can also approach the time change incrementally, starting the week before. Push naps, meals and bedtime back 15 minutes later each of the days leading up to the end of daylight savings. For example, if his usual bedtime is 7:30 p.m., he can go to bed at 7:45 p.m. on October 29th, 8 p.m. on the 29th, 8:15 p.m. on the 30th, and 8:30 p.m., on the 31st. By the time daylight savings ends, he will already be adjusted – or at least well on his way.
Regardless of which approach you choose, stay consistent and try not to let him eat or really start his day before 6 a.m. (new time). He’ll be adjusted within a week.
If your child had too late of a bedtime before the time change, this is your chance to move it earlier without too much fuss. The ideal bedtime for most children is between 7-8 p.m. So if your son’s bedtime was too late, don’t move it later; just put him to bed at the new time of 7 or 8 p.m.
Note: If your little guy seems plagued by early rising, it’s time to get to the bottom of it. Follow this link to read my earlier post about the common causes of early rising and how to address them.
*Includes information from Kim West’s Good Night Sleep Tight.
Rebekah Thomson (917) 455-3054 firstname.lastname@example.org
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