With teen temperatures in Chicago, it’s hard to believe spring is around the corner. But Sunday, March 8th is Day Light Savings when we move our clocks one hour forward. For parents of early risers, the good news is that little their 6am risers becomes 7am risers– and that means some extra sleep. Yes, I said EXTRA sleep! Even if you are tired of winter, it’s time to start celebrating!
Here are some tips to prepare and to manage the time changes:
1. If you have sleeper on a good schedule, don’t mess with it. Just wake her up at their usual time and put her to sleep at her usual times; typically she will adjust within a matter of days. It might take a bit longer to fall asleep for a few days, but she will adjust easily.
2.If you are a planner and prefer he is already adjusted to the new time by Sunday, then start a few days prior like TODAY! Shift the entire schedule (including all meals) earlier, in 15 minute increments, over the period of 4 days so that by Sunday he is ready to start the day at the usual wake time. In other words, it he usually awakens at 6:30 a.m., wake him at 6:15, the next day 6:00 and so on. And if he usually naps at 12:30, put him down at 12:15, the net day at 12:00, etc. And if their bedtime is usually 6:30 p.m, then shift to 6:15, and then 6:00 and finally to 5:45 p.m. until you have shifted the entire schedule one hour earlier. By Sunday, when we move the clocks one hour ahead, he will be waking and going to bed at their usual times.
3. Be prepared for the question I always get “Why are we going to bed when the sun is still out, Mama?” Your toddler is right: nights will be lighter and mornings brighter, so ensure those windows are covered with room darkening shades (or my favorite low tech solution: black garbage bags or tinfoil and painter’s tape!).
4. Toddler clocks are always helpful reminders of the “appropriate” time to wake up for your tot.
Dr. Rebecca Kempton, M.D. is a certified infant and toddler sleep consultant, physician, and mother of 3 under the age of 8, based in Chicago. Using a variety of behavioral techniques, she customizes sleep solutions based on individual family goals and children’s temperaments and coaches families all over the world to a better night’s sleep. She is a staff blogger for the Huffington post on topics related to infant and toddler sleep. Dr. Kempton works with clients both nationally and globally by phone, Skype, and email and with home visits. Follow me on facebook and twitter for free sleep tips and please contact me for a free initial consult.
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