Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday March 12th!

Posted by & filed under Daylight Savings, Time Change.

We “Spring Forward”, which means that we adjust the clocks 1 hour later.  Daylight Saving time was NOT invented by parents of young children, that’s for sure!  The big challenge during the transition is managing bedtime, as kids feel less tired and there’s more light outside.   Here are some strategies on how to approach this change.

The “big bang” approach
On the morning of the big day, wake your child up at their usual time as per the “new” time (so you will wake them up an hour early – yikes – I know!).  Then, follow your child’s regular schedule for meals, naps, bedtime, etc. according to the clock. If for example their bedtime was 8pm before the time change, it should be 8pm after the time change.

This approach works best for older children and/or for children that tend to adjust to changes in schedules fairly easily. If this does not fit your child, then follow a more gradual approach described below.

The gradual approach
Another option is to ease into the change by making small adjustments to your child’s sleep and wake times in the days before Daylight Savings starts.  Adjust your child’s bedtime, naptime and wake up time earlier by 10-15 minutes every day, so that by Sunday, it’ll be less of a shock.

If you can’t start making those schedule adjustments prior to the time change, and you don’t have to be somewhere on Monday morning, you can still use this gradual approach starting on the day of the time change.

Regardless of the approach you choose, having an already established routine will make it easier to adjust.  Don’t be surprised if bedtime takes a bit longer at first, since we are asking them to go to bed earlier than their body is used to.  It’s important that they are tired at bedtime, which is why we need to adjust wake up time, naps, meals, etc.   If they are not tired at bedtime, they may be more “creative” at bedtime, and we want to avoid any new “shenanigans”/behaviors to turn into new habits.

Here are some more tips to help with the transition:

·         Keep evening activities very calm – calmer than usual!  We want our children to go to bed earlier, so provide less stimulating before bedtime.

·         During the transition, try darkening your home an hour before bedtime.  It will encourage your child to go to sleep earlier.

·         Plan extra time for your bedtime routine to help your child be ready for sleep.

·         Be flexible –you still need to be aware of your child’s sleepy cues and make this transition slowly if needed

·         Make sure your child’s room is dark.  Once Daylight Saving starts (and as Spring/Summer approaches – yes!), there’s more light in the evening (and eventually early morning).  Using black out curtains or dark shades can definitely help your little one to go to sleep at night and stay asleep in the morning. And it helps with naps too. Investing in a dark room is definitely well worth it!

If you have any questions, please contact me!

Sleeping while Traveling

Posted by & filed under Time Zones, Travel.

Plan ahead

Discuss and decide ahead of time where everyone will sleep so that bring what you need and/or the host can prepare the rooms accordingly (bed, crib, pack and play, making the room dark, etc.).

If your child will sleep in a pack and play during your trip, put it up at home before your trip.  Let your child play with it during the day, use it for a nap in or even at bedtime.  We want them to become familiar with it before they actually have to sleep in it in a new place.

 Bring what you need

Take what you need so that you can recreate as much of your bedtime routine and your home sleep environment.  You may also want to bring your baby monitor.

Make sure you bring your child’s lovey, pacifier, white noise, blanket, sleep sack, stuffed animal, pajamas, fitted crib sheet, etc.  Don’t wash anything (pajamas, blanket, sheet, etc.) right before you leave for your trip: we want these familiar objects to smell like home, which will be comforting in the new environment.

Help your child get familiar with the new sleep environment

As soon as you arrive at destination (and before it’s time to sleep), spend some time in the room where your child will be sleeping.  Play in that room, play in their bed/crib/pack and play, and let them know that this is where they will sleep.

What if they don’t sleep like at home?

If your child has a hard time falling asleep and/or staying asleep because they are in a new environment, they may need some extra support at the beginning.  You may want to stay with them in the room at first, offering some reassurance using your voice or your touch.  If you have to provide more support than you do at home, let them know that this is special because you are on vacation, and that once you get home, you will go back to the “home expectations”.  And do just that as soon as you get home.

The first night you get back home, we have to go back to how we do things at home. That’s really important.  If you’ve done things differently on your trip, you can expect him to “test” that, but we need to be very clear about the “sleep rules” at home.  Kids are amazing at “compartmentalizing” and understanding that different places/people have different “rules” – for example they behave differently at daycare than at home, or with grandma, etc.  What’s important is that as soon as you get back to your home, you use the same sleep rules than you did before the trip.

Schedule

It can be challenging to maintain your child’s regular naptime and bedtime schedule while traveling.  Try to find the balance between doing the activities you want to do while on vacation and avoiding that your child gets too overtired and completely melts down, thus not making things so fun for anyone.  For example, if you know that you will be staying up late one evening, make sure that your child as a good afternoon nap that day.  Similarly, if you will be on the go all day, plan to have an early bedtime that night.  Follow your child’s lead and adjust your plans accordingly.

Traveling across time zone

If you travel to a new time zone, try to start living as per the new clock as much as possible as soon as you arrive, including meals and snacks, naptime, bedtime, wake time.  Expose your child to daylight in the morning and early afternoon.  Having said that, it can take a few days to adjust to the new time, so you also want to watch your child: if they are falling apart prior to their schedule as per the clock, follow their lead.  People often say that that it takes 1 day of adjustment for every hour of time change.  You may want to keep the first day pretty light so your child has the chance to adjust.

Are You Ready for Daylight Saving to End?

Posted by & filed under Daylight Savings, Time Change.

Fall Back

It’s that time of the year again… On Sunday, November 5th, Daylight Saving will end (for US and Canada). Before you had kids, Daylight Saving adjustments meant an extra short/long week-end and having to adjust the clock on a bunch of electronics. With kids, however, it can impact your family for days, especially with young children. When Daylight Saving ends in the Fall, the most typical sleep disruption is that children continue to wake up at their old time, which is now an hour earlier. So let’s talk strategy to make it as seamless as possible.

The “big bang” approach
On the morning of the big day, let your child wake up at their usual time as per the “old” time. But then, follow your child’s regular schedule for sleep, meals, naps, wake up time, etc. according to the new time. If for example their bedtime is at 8pm before the time change, it should be 8pm after the time change. Having said that, watch your child carefully and don’t let them get overtired. If they’re totally exhausted, it’s okay to let them go to bed 10-15 minutes earlier than their usual bed time, but as close to their usual schedule is best.

This approach works best for older children and/or for children that tend to adjust to changes in schedules fairly easily. If this does not fit your child, then follow a more gradual approach described below.

The gradual approach
Another option is to ease into the change by making small adjustments to your child’s sleep and wake times in the days before Daylight Saving ends. Adjust your child’s bedtime, naptime and wake up time later by 10-15 minutes every day, so that by Sunday, it’ll be less of a shock.

If you can’t start making those schedule adjustments prior to the time change, you can still use this approach starting on the day of the time change.

Regardless of the approach you choose, having an already established routine will make it easier to adjust. Don’t be surprised if your child continues initially to wake up early. However, try to not let them start the day until their regular wake-up time. This is usually lasts for a few days, sometimes longer, but eventually their bodies recognize they need more sleep and they’ll sleep longer.

If your child is in a bed (and not a crib), I recommend using a child’s “wake-up clock”. They help children know when it’s time to stay in bed and when they can get up to start the day. They can be especially effective to help manage this time changes.

If you have any questions, please contact me!