Photo: Olga Kurguzova (Shutterstock)
If we move our clocks forward an hour on the next Sunday, March 14th, we will feel dizzy and perhaps a little moody as Monday morning comes even earlier than we’d like. Adults don’t usually like feeling sleepless easily, but we double up on coffee and electricity. Young children, on the other hand, are less likely to get their way and more likely to trigger their exhaustion by a breakdown during their 9 o’clock zoom. Because of this, you should start the transition now, while you still have a week to prepare your bodies for an hour to lose.
Gradually adjust bedtime and wake-up times
As an adult, you’ll probably be fine to make up for an hour lost at a time, but children will do better if their sleep and wake times are adjusted over several days. This suggests Dr. Daniel Lewin, assistant director of sleep medicine at the National Children’s Health System in Washington, DC Parents.com that we can achieve:
If your child goes to bed at 8:00 p.m. approximately four days before the clock change, put them to bed at 7:45 p.m., then 7:30 p.m., and so on, until they went to bed as soon as possible. If possible, wake him up a little earlier. “These step-by-step instructions aren’t as much of a shock to the system as if you suddenly expect your child to fall asleep an hour earlier after the clock change,” says Dr. Lewin. “If getting your child to bed early is too difficult, which is often the case with older children, focus instead on lengthening the wake-up time a little.”
You can even do it gradually if you want, increasing the time by 15 minutes and leaving it there for two days instead of one day before moving it back up.
Tighten up your routine
Children do best when they have and follow a consistent bedtime routine. So if you are a little careless, now is the time to put it back on. A combination of brushing their teeth, bath time, cuddling to read books, and singing songs before turning off the lights, if repeated consistently, signals to their minds and bodies that it is time to relax. Starting tonight, protect bedtime at all costs.
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Manage the light
Darkness promotes sleep, while light promotes wakefulness. If you haven’t already, invest in some blackout curtains so you can darken the bedroom for a nap as needed or when it gets light when bedtime arrives. To help them wake up in the morning, pull back the shadows for nature to exert its influence.
(If you don’t have blackout curtains, I also pinned a dark, lightweight blanket in a pinch; it works just fine.)
Try to wear them the day before
If you haven’t managed to gradually move your bedtime, your mission on March 14th is to wear it completely out. This is not the day for extra screen time and relaxation. This is the day for Inside bubble wrap hopscotch and obstacle course and all Go noodle You can stand. There’s no shame in wearing them on purpose so you can go to bed as early as possible.
Fasten your seat belt
If all else fails and you have not been able to gradually adjust the sleep schedule and the time change was simply meant to turn your child off and affect their overall wellbeing, just hold on for a few days. You may be particularly irritable for a while (maybe up to a week), but at least you know why – and they will eventually adjust.
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