There is nothing like a little sunshine to boost your mood and put a spring in your step. If you have little ones who have been cooped up during the cold winter months, take heart, spring is just around the corner! The proof is on the calendar.
Daylight Savings Time, a sure sign of spring, arrives on March 13th at 2am. While we don’t change time here in Saskatchewan, home of SleepWell Baby, our friends who subscribe to saving daylight will need to spring forward and set their clocks ahead by one hour. So what does this mean for your little one’s sleep?
On March 13th 6am will become 7am and 6 pm will be 7pm. Mornings are darker and light is saved for the evening with the new clock. If you are the parent to a little rooster who likes to rise early, you are about to catch a break. All that cock-a-doodle-doin’ that used to happen at 5 am will now happen at 6am, for a few days until your early riser adjusts to the new clock.
What should you do about naps? Instead of immediately making the switch to new naptimes, split the difference. Adjust the morning and afternoon naps by 30 minutes to begin with and add another 30 minutes by the third day. By the end of the week your little one should easily switch over to the new schedule.
Help your little one reset her body clock by exposing her to light upon waking and keeping her room dark when it’s time to sleep. Sleep is regulated by our circadian rhythm (our body’s internal clock) and that clock is regulated by light and darkness. Exposing your little one to light and darkness that is consistent with the new clock will speed up the change.
Remember that children thrive when parents provide a structured environment and dealing with the time change is no different. Keeping your everyday routines consistent will help your little one make the adjustment. Structure your day with regular playtimes, mealtimes and pre-sleep routines all according to the new time.
Keep in mind that when it comes to little ones and sleep, this is the easier end of Daylight Savings Time as we are springing forward instead of falling back. By making naptime adjustments, introducing light and darkness to reset the body’s internal clock and keeping consistent routines your little ones will be well rested and ready to take on spring. And after a long winter so will you.
Alysa Dobson is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant with SleepWell Baby. She works with families to help them get the sleep they need. Alysa offers support to parents with children ages 4 months- 8 years old through both in home and remote consultations. She can be contacted at [email protected]
Image courtesy of digitalart/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net