Daylight Savings : Tips to Avoid the Nightmare

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If you're a mom,  then you probably look at daylight savings as a dreaded event that was created just to mess with you.  Now that you've actually gotten your kid on a sleep routine that works, daylight savings is thrown into the mix and you have to start all over.  Here are some tried and true tips to adjust your baby to the time change, whether it be springing ahead or falling backward.

  • Prepare in advance.  Try and be proactive about the upcoming time change.  It's listed on most calendars and happens in the beginning of March and beginning of November.  It always happens at 2:00am on Sunday (aka Saturday night) so when you wake up on Sunday morning things will feel different.  Set an alarm about a week in advance to remind you to start prepping your kids for the upcoming change.  Putting in the legwork early (as with any sleep training) will benefit you and your child in the long run.
  • Slow and steady.  Change your clocks (or your child's routine) in small increments during the week leading up to daylight savings.  If your child is older, they will benefit from being told what is happening and why.  Make it a fun part of each day throughout the week that they can help with.  Depending on how sensitive your baby is to routine change, adjust your clock in 10-15 minute increments each day throughout the week.  Below is a chart with sample schedule change adjustments you can reference while preparing.
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  • Exposure to Sunlight.  Start your child off early in the day with exposure to natural sunlight (if its not snowing).  Doing physical activity while in the sun is even better to help tire them out.  The sunlight exposure is great to help regulate their natural circadian rhythm. 
  • Avoid sugar.  This one is hard, but try to avoid any sugar in the afternoon.  Restricting typical sweets may be easy, but remember that simple carbohydrates convert into sugar once consumed, so pair these with proteins when possible. 

So what happens when you don't prepare in advance?  Don't worry, you can still adjust the schedule in increments if you have a sensitive baby or child.  You'll just adjust during the week after the time change instead.  If you have an adaptable baby, they may be okay with the same immediate transition we go through as adults (aka cold turkey). 

Remember the increment changes aren't just for bedtime, but should be followed for naps, meals, and any other standard activities.  It will help your child adjust to the time change if everything is shifted, and not just sleep.  For older children it is hard to eat dinner, take a bath, and get in bed while it's still light out.  Do your best to draw curtains and turn on lights to mimic what they're used to while they're adjusting to the time changes.

Remember that daylight savings doesn't have to be a nightmare.  As a mom you can do your best to prepare your kids for the change, but if you forget to prepare you can adjust on the back end too.  Remember that time change is hard for everyone, and it's multiplied for your baby.  Good luck!