Guest Blogger: Triona Coakelin
, Certified Infant & Toddler Sleep Coach
It's that time of year when everyone gets just-a-little-bit confused about what time it is – daylight savings! The good news is that you will get a “bonus hour” of overall sleep and a “bonus hour” of light in the morning, so waking up will definitely be easier. In the evening, it will be darker one hour earlier, so often the day feels really short. You will find yourself wanting to “get cozy” and you and the kids will likely get drowsy earlier—and therefore bedtime will hopefully be easier.
If your baby is waking later in the morning than you’d like…
….good for you!! The time change will bring your child’s schedule back by a full hour, so this should solve any late-waking problems you may be having.
If your baby is waking too early in the morning…
...I’m sorry. One of the most common things I hear from parents is ‘my baby wakes too early’! This time changes is probably going to be tough on you and you definitely want to be proactive so that you aren’t up at 4am!
Try not to worry too much, there ARE some steps you can take to minimise disruption. In the week leading up to the time change gradually adjust your child’s schedule (wake-up, naps and bedtime) by 10-15mins every couple of days. For example, if your little one usually wakes around 6.30am and you would like it to remain that way work towards getting him up at 7.30am (and shift everything else ahead too) – that way, after the time changes he should be waking around 6.30am again and his whole day will adjust accordingly.
Some practical tips to reduce the stress:
Although there will be some timings you can’t adjust, like daycare or activity times, aim to shift all your daily routines 15 minutes later at each step during the "adjustment week."
Stay really consistent and predictable with bedtime routines. Little ones thrive on solid routines and by keeping these the same it will help your child predict sleep and make sleep easier.
With the clock change, the amount of light in your child’s room will also change which can affect their melatonin levels (melatonin is a hormone associated with the onset of sleep.) Make sure they get plenty of daylight and fresh air first thing in the morning to regulate their melatonin levels and suppress that sleepy hormone.
Blackout blinds can also be a huge help so the new, lighter mornings don’t confuse them further!
Many children are not affected by a small difference in time so it is simpler and perhaps easier to make a quick adjustment by doing the immediate shift. Ultimately, you know your child best so you’ll be able to identify which plan will work best for you- all I suggest is make sure you have a plan in place to avoid a horribly early wake up call on Sunday morning….and some strong coffee in case you need it!
Triona Coakelin is a Certified Infant & Toddler Sleep Coach and Toronto Mom. After having her son in 2015 she decided not to return to her corporate marketing job and instead help other families by giving them the gift of sleep in a gentle, loving way. For more information visit tuckedintight.com