This Sunday, March 8th at 2am we “Spring Forward” and set our clocks one hour ahead to welcome the beginning of Daylight Savings Time. Brighter mornings and longer days are in the future but many parents fear this the time change may bring early wakings and cranky, sleep-deprived children.
The good news is that the “Spring Forward” time change tends to be less disruptive on your child’s sleep than when we fall back. In fact, those of you with an earlier riser may actually feel like you are getting a bit more sleep this weekend!
To adjust to this time change, you may want to follow a ‘do nothing’ approach. On the day of the time change, set your clocks ahead and enjoy the extra sleep! Your child may simply wake up a little later and you can adjust the schedule according to the new clock times. Don’t forget to make a few adjustments to help this plan happen!
- Darken the room. The sun will be peaking in earlier and staying up later so a dark room will help your little one prepare for sleep. Add blackout shades to help keep the room dark for sleep.
- Add a white noise. Birds (and your neighbors) may also be waking earlier. White noise can help drown out house and nature noises that may wake our little ones before they are ready.
- Adjust your child’s toddler alarm clock. If you are using a toddler alarm clock, don’t forget to adjust the time before you go to bed so it is easier for your child to understand when it is time to wake for the day.
If you are a little concerned about how this time change will impact your sensitive sleeper, you may want to make gradual adjustments to their schedule a few days prior to the time change. For this approach, adjust their wake times, sleep times, and feeding schedule by 15-30 minutes each day in order to them ease into the new time.
Regardless of your approach, it will take a bit of time for our bodies to adjust to the spring forward time change. Here are a few tips to help everyone in your family adjust:
- Early bedtimes. A few nights of offering a bit more sleep can help everyone get back on track after the time change.
- Get outside. Enjoy the bright light in the morning and then dim lights in the evening to help your biological sleep clock stay on track.
- Reduce screen time. The use of screens prior to sleep can suppress melatonin and activate the brain. Refrain from using screens at least an hour before sleep.
Finally, if your family is a well-rested family, they should easily respond to transitions like these. As you are changing all your clocks this weekend, don’t forget that this time change is a great time to check your home’s smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and change the batteries, as well.