This Sunday, March 8th, @ 2:00 a.m. marks the start of Daylight Savings Time.
We moms know that this minimal loss of sleep can wreak havoc on children's natural sleep systems.
In order to help the adjustment go as smoothly as possible, here are some tips parents can follow to ensure their children gain a good night's sleep despite the time change:
- Make sure that your child is well rested prior to the change.
- Maintain your child's regular bedtime and nap times. Resist the temptation to compensate for the lost hour by delaying bedtime or allowing your child to sleep in. This will increase the time it takes to transition. There may be some crankiness from being tired, but this should last only a day or two.
- Make gradual adjustments. Some parents find it is best to try to start making adjustments on Saturday night rather than wait until Sunday, a school night. You can also make a slow transition by starting on Thursday night before the time change, moving your child's bedtime earlier by 15 minutes each night. By Sunday night you will be right back on schedule.
- Make sure they get plenty of exercise during the day.
- Avoid caffeine, as this can disrupt sleep.
- No Internet or video games before bedtime as they are stimulating and can make falling asleep harder.
- Do not use OTC meds such as Benadryl to knock them out, as you will interfere with their natural ability to change over time.
- Begin the winding down process about an hour before bedtime. This gives plenty of time for hygiene, bedtime stories, prayers and so on without feeling rushed or stressed. A nice warm bath is a good way to help them relax.
Remember, your child will adjust to the time change within a few days to a week.