Saturday, November 1, 2014

Let's Talk Sleep: Change Your Clocks, Keep Your Schedules!

In the fall, the clocks ‘fall’ back an hour. What used to be 7:00pm is now 6:00pm and baby/child is tired and ready to sleep earlier than ‘normal.’ While you may not be successful in helping your child make it to bedtime, the real problem comes in the morning because most children will wake early. Their normal 7:00am wake-up time now becomes 6:00am. Prepare to nap them a little earlier and allow them to ‘chill’ in the crib after waking from naps a bit longer.

Your best approach is to not worry about the plan and just go with what the clock is saying.  If your child’s bedtime has been 7:00pm prior to turning your clocks back, still put your child down to sleep at the new clock time of 7:00pm. The reason you can ignore the time change is because a lot of our social cues like meals, bathing, leaving and returning from work and school, are all adjusted with the time change. Social cues help regulate a child’s sleep schedule. It is entirely possible that your baby will be tired before the 7:00 pm bedtime and you should absolutely read baby’s cues and put him down a little earlier if very fussy or obviously very tired. Remain strict adhering to usual bedtimes, wake times and nap times. This approach works best for good sleepers or those who have mellow personalities.

Adults as well as babies and children take a few days to a week or even longer to adjust to the time change. And, this is perfectly normal. Be patient with yourself and your children until your biological rhythms catch up with the clock.  Being diligent with your schedule will help your child, and you, to make that adjustment more quickly. The day after the daylight savings time ends, Monday, November 3, 2014, your baby may wake up one hour earlier than usual (based on the clock). If this is the case, you will want to make your child’s nap time and bedtime 45 minutes earlier than his regular schedule the first day; 30 minutes earlier the second day; and 15 minutes earlier the third day.

The whole daily schedule adjusts to those changes accordingly. By doing this, your baby would be going to sleep and waking up at his regular times, based on the Standard Time, by Friday November 7th.

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