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4 Ways to Make an Easy Daylight Savings Time Change for Your Family

daylight savings time sleep tips for babies and kidsEvery parent understands the importance of a schedule. Our bodies thrive on consistency and that goes double for little kids. When they go to bed and nap at consistent times, they have energy and great moods. But when their schedules are erratic and unpredictable, they’re somber and cranky. Plus, sleep deprivation can affect a child’s development.

That’s what makes Daylight Savings Time so hard for a lot of parents. The “falling back” part in autumn is easy because everyone gets more sleep, but the “spring ahead” can be difficult.

Fortunately, the time change doesn’t have to be a nightmare with a little preparation. Here are some essential tips to help your family adjust to Daylight Savings Time.

1. Start adjusting early

Daylight Savings Time starts on March 13th this year. It’s a Sunday, which is nice because it gives us at least one buffer day before we have places to be on Monday.

Start your adjustment early – at least four days in advance. The goal is make the first day of DST as painless as possible by adjusting each previous day just a little bit.

Each day, put your kids to bed 15 minutes earlier than the day before. You might have to adjust other daily activities to help their bodies adjust, like meal times, nap times, and snack times. Then, wake them up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. If you do this four days before DST starts, they’ll have adjusted for the hour without any hassle.

2. Keep the rest of your routine the same

During the adjustment period, don’t mess with any other parts of their routine. This is not the time to transition from two-nap-days to one-nap-days. It’s not the time to take a long car trip to visit Grandma. And it’s not the time to start new things, like dance or soccer. Focus on keeping everything the same until the adjustment has been made. It’s only four days, so this shouldn’t interrupt your life too much.

3. Use lighting

Our bodies use melatonin to regulate our internal clock. When it gets dark, our bodies increase our melatonin levels, which makes us sleepy. When it’s bright, melatonin is actually broken down by the light.

You can induce sleepiness and wakefulness by adjusting the amount of light in your home. Close the curtains and dim the lights about 45 minutes before bedtime to put your child in the mood to sleep. Open the curtains and turn on lights as it gets near wake time.

This is an excellent way to gradually wake up or put your child to sleep, without fussiness or tears.

4. Be patient

If you can, I recommend making the few days after the DST low activity. If you have to get the kids out of the house in the morning, this might be tough for you, but if your kids spend the day at home, don’t force them to stick to a schedule. Their bodies will naturally adjust on their own, even if you don’t intervene.

I hope that helps! Daylight Savings Time usually isn’t a problem for most parents, but for some families it can be a tense few days. We’d love to hear about your DST challenges. Post your questions or comments on Facebook and we’ll help you out!

safe sleep solutionWritten by Joanna von Yurt, Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Co-Founder and CEO of Swanling Innovations Inc.

Joanna von Yurt is the mother of three intelligent, sensitive, and compassionate girls (who all want to be mommies when they grow up). She is first AND foremost a mom! Professionally, however, she is an accountant, controller and serial entrepreneur.

Joanna has a degree in Psychology from Harvard University with an emphasis in child psychology. She worked as an infant caregiver for 12 years and interned as a Child Life Specialist, family/social therapist, and assisted in clinical studies involving children’s personality and social psychology. Joanna is a Certified Sudden Infant Death (SIDS) Prevention Professional, Safe Sleep Educator, Member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants, Member of the National Sleep Foundation, and Member of the Canadian Sleep Society.

Joanna has a lifelong passion for childcare and child safety. She enjoys sharing her experiences with other parents about sleep routines, attachment parenting, safe sleep guidelines, and children’s natural sleep patterns. Her company, Swanling Innovations, is committed to producing modern, safe and innovative products that meet the expectations of discerning parents. The Slumber Sleeper™ is a 4-in 1 safe sleep solution (mattress protector, flat sheet, fitted sheet and sleep sack all in one) designed to help keep your baby safe, warm and centered.

Joanna always says that a well-rested child and well-rested parents add up to a happy family!

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