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Daylight Savings Advice - September Edition

Help Your Child Adjust To Daylight Savings


Spring is here, which means Daylight Savings is just around the corner (next Sunday 24th of September in fact)! We can all get excited about longer days and more daylight (meaning summer time, the beach and BBQ’s!), but you might be wondering what impact this could have on your child’s sleep?
 
Although we will lose an hour of sleep as we put our clocks forward, the good news is that this time change is less disruptive to your child’s schedule than if we were coming out of daylight savings. Another bit of good news is that if your child is a bit of an early riser, say around 5.30am, you will benefit come Sunday morning when your clocks go forward an hour and now read 6.30am. Bonus!
 
Here are a few of my tips to make this transition into daylight savings easier on your child’s sleep:
 

Clock
 
  1. Schedule adjustment
Because this time change is easier than coming out of daylight savings, you have the option of not changing too much and simply following the new clock time come Sunday morning.  For example, if your child is normally waking at 7am, wake them up at 7am on Sunday morning daylight savings time. This would be an hour earlier then they are accustomed, however, you can then simply stick to your same nap and sleep schedule based on the new daylight savings time.
 
However, if you want to be more proactive (or perhaps you have a child who is a little more schedule sensitive), then you can start by bringing all naps, bedtime, meal times etc. back 15 minutes every couple of days leading up to daylight savings the week prior. To give you an example, if your child generally sleeps at night from 7pm-7am, your proactive approach would look something like this …..
  • Monday & Tuesday: wake your child 15 minutes earlier in the morning at 6.45am, move all naps, mealtimes & bedtime 15 minutes earlier, making bedtime 6.45pm
  • Wednesday & Thursday: again move your entire schedule back 15 minutes, so wake-up time will be 6.30am, and bedtime 6.30pm
  • Friday & Saturday: again move your entire schedule back 15 minutes, so wake-up time will be 6.15am, and bedtime 6.15pm
  • Sunday morning of daylight savings time: wake your baby at 7am new time (6am old time) and they should have adjusted nicely without even realising.
  1. Consistent Bedtime Routine
Despite the extra light leading up to bedtime at this time of year, it doesn’t mean anything needs to change with your usual bedtime routine or delaying the actual bedtime hour. Some parents can worry about this, however, by keeping the bedtime routine consistent and sticking to all the activities and rules you normally would, you should have no issues.
 
  1. Blackout blinds
With the sun rising earlier, and setting later, over this period there is extra light beaming through the windows both in the early morning, and at bedtime. This affects the amount of melatonin your baby produces, which is a hormone that helps cue the brain for sleep. Extra light in the room during these important times will mean that your child will be more alert when we want them to be sleeping. The best thing you can do, and something I highly recommend, is getting blackout blinds for your child’s room. You want your child’s room to be nice and dark so that the natural production of melatonin will help them fall asleep quicker at bedtime, and stay asleep longer in the brighter early mornings.
 
  1. White noise
Another factor with the sun rising earlier will be those pesky birds chirping! White noise is a great way to block out any outside noises, such as birds, traffic etc. You can buy white noise machines or CDs, or simply download one of many free white noise apps. You want a constant and continuous sound for your child so try for something similar to running water, a waterfall, or even a fan. Have the white noise machine across the room from your baby (not right next to them) and try to set the volume similar to that of a running shower (which is around 50 decibels or quieter).
 
Lastly, be patient and give the time change a few days for your child to adjust. They will actually adjust a lot quicker than you think.
 

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