If you have little ones, you may be a little anxious about the upcoming time change that occurs this Sunday, March 12th when we “Spring Forward”. The good news is this time change is less problematic for many little ones. In fact, it may even feel like your earlier risers are ‘sleeping in’ a bit.
Although we may all feel the effects of this adjustment in our schedule we will also soon be able to enjoy the longer days filled with more sunshine (hopefully). Plus, there are a few steps you can take to help your family through this adjustment.
For more sensitive little ones, consider shifting their schedule more gradually. With this approach, it is best to gradually shift their daily activates including wake up, feeding, and sleep times (morning, naps, and night) 15 minutes earlier over 3-4 days. For example, if your little one has a 7 pm bedtime and 7 am wake time make a few adjustments starting today! Tonight, move bedtime up to 6:45pm and wake at 6:45am tomorrow morning. Tomorrow night, you will have a 6:30pm bedtime and so on. Gradually pushing back the wake up, feeding and sleep times by just a few minutes each day, can help ease this transition for your sensitive little one.
If you child is more adaptable child, you may decide to do nothing and that is ok too! Your child will simply wake up and hour later and you will attempt to keep their sleep times for naps and night sleep the same. However, you should realize that your child may not be totally ready for nap and night sleep at these times over the first few days. If this is the case, you can put them down for sleep 15-30 minutes earlier so you can avoid them from becoming overtired once the new times have been established. After a few days, your little ones should adjust to the time change and you will all be back on track.
Regardless of your approach, try to get your little one outside and expose them to light during this transition. Our circadian rhythms help our bodies to know when it is time to wake and when it is time for sleep. Exposure to light can help us all reset our internal clock and adjust to the longer (and hopefully sunnier) days ahead.