Time to “fall back”…how to help your child adjust to the time change!
Time to “Fall Back” before you go to bed Saturday November 2nd! What will this do to your child’s sleep habits?
This next Saturday night/early Sunday morning we will all “Fall Back”! Wow, an extra hour of sleep! Well, maybe…time changes can be difficult for some children. How can a parent help a child switch their little internal clock so a 6:00 AM wake time does not become 5:00 AM?! I give no guarantees, but here are a few tips that might help the transition.
- If your child has a bedtime that is too late…do nothing! That 9:00 PM or 8:00 PM bedtime will magically become 8:00 PM or 7:00 PM! Perfect!
- If you like your child’s bedtime, then beginning tonight, push your child’s bedtime forward by about 15 to 20 minutes each night. A 7:00 PM bedtime would become 7:15 tonight, 7:30 tomorrow, 7:45 the next evening and then 8:00. When the time changes, that 8:00 will become 7:00. You can also do this a bit slower and finish up after the time change. Some children that are a little less flexible may need several weeks to make the adjustment.
- Try to keep your child in bed in the morning 15 to 20 minutes later each day too. Even if your child is awake, try to keep him or her in bed delaying the normal “get up and go” time by 15 to 20 minutes each day.
- Invest in black out shades. They may not be very necessary in the winter, but as spring approaches again (and it will!) the light can play havoc with sleep.
- Remember to turn lights on first thing in the morning and dim lights about an hour before bedtime in the evening. Children’s time clocks are largely set by light.
- If you end up with an early waker, encourage your child to stay in bed until an acceptable wake time. For older children there are some great sleep clocks on the market that change color when it is time to get up. If your child gets up, continue to put your child down at the right time for naps and bedtime.
- Be patient and stay the course. Keep slowly pushing your child to wake, eat, play, nap, and go to bed at the new time. Your little one may be a bit crankier, clingier, or sleepier, but the more you stick to the routine, the faster your little one will adjust.
Sleep well! Before we know it we will be “springing forward”! Share your tips for the time change!
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Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.