‘Tis the season. The season for pumpkin spice lattes, boots, costumes, and…..the dreaded time change. If you're a parent, then I'm sure you're staring at the calendar in anticipation. On Sunday November 6th, at 2 am the time changes. However, do your toddlers and babies know that? Nope. So, what do you DO?
Little known fact. When Lydia was born I was OBSESSED with baby sleep. I read seven books about the science of sleep, what worked, and what was realistic to expect by age. I read article after article (some of which I'll link to below). The end result? Lydia is a fairly good sleeper and my expectations are fair for her age!
How to Survive the Time Change:
Let's talk about the Fall Time Change. When Daylight Savings Time ends, we essentially gain an hour. At 2 am on November 6th, it becomes 1 am. However, what does that mean for toddlers and babies? If they used to wake up at 6 am…..they'll (most likely) wake up at 5 am. Yup, that hour…..comes back to haunt you in the wee hours of the morning!
So the question….how do you adjust to the Fall Time Change without creating total chaos?
Rhythms: Remember….for the most part babies and toddlers function with rhythms and routines, not by the clock. They don't KNOW that it's 5 am instead of 6 am. They just know it's time to wake up. Your goal? To slowly adjust your days to follow regular rhythms.
Darkness: A dark room helps. As light changes in the summer and fall, kids notice. This morning my own daughter told me it wasn't time to wake up, because the sun was still sleeping. One solution? Blackout curtains. If the room where your child sleeps is ALWAYS dark, that becomes a nonissue.
Daytime Effects Nighttime: Daytime sleep (naps) and daytime eating will effect nighttime. So, be sure that naps are happening and that tummies are full.
Small Changes are Best: Kids adjust slowly to changes. One way to ease them into the Fall Time Change? Adjust bedtime SLOWLY. For six days leading up to Daylight Savings……put them to bed ten minutes later EACH evening. On the last night, they'll have pushed bedtime back by an hour and SHOULD wake up at their usual time.
Wake Up and Sleep Cues: Stick to your regular bedtime routine. That routine will signal bedtime to your child. For the morning, if you feel comfortable….wait a few minutes before going in to get a woken up toddler. Toddler clocks also work wonders!
REMINDER: Change the clocks, and change your batteries! For 29 years, Energizer® has partnered with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) to help keep families safe through the Change Your Clock Change Your Batteries™ program. Each fall, Energizer® and the IAFC work together to remind people of the important habit of changing and testing the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, along with all of your home safety devices, when setting the clocks back for daylight saving time. Don't forget to check your batteries…..and change them each fall as the time changes.