On Sunday November 6th at 2 am, Daylight Saving Time ends and the clocks turn back one hour. Horray? Not quite! While this used to be a bonus when you could take advantage of that extra hour, now as a parent of young children, it’s just one more thing you have to navigate. How to cope? Here are my top 5 tips:
1. Plan ahead! In the days before you change your clocks, make sure your child is getting plenty of shut-eye. Going into daylight saving time well-rested will greatly help your child because he won’t be cranky and overtired, which can make falling asleep even harder.
2. Stay the course! That means changing the clocks and nudging your little one to wake, eat, play, nap, and go to bed at the usual times according to what the clock says. He may be grumpy for a while, but the more you stick to your routines, the faster your tot will adjust to a time change.
3. Make sure to avoid bright lights at nighttime, especially avoiding screens and any electronics before bedtime
4. If your child keeps waking too early, ensure that he understands that you don’t consider this an acceptable time to start the day. Encourage him to doze but if he really wants to be awake, encourage him to stay in bed doing a quiet activity. Some parents put a clock beside their child’s bed and explain what time it has to be before they can get up for the day!
5. Make sure your child’s bedroom is really dark and consider using some blackout window covers so that the new early morning light doesn’t wake your child. Keeping the room dark encourages the production of Melatonin, which helps them stay sleeping.
Bonus TIP: The beginning of daylight saving time also serves a good reminder to check your smoke detectors.
Generally it takes about a week after the clocks have changed for everyone, no matter what age, to be in a new sleeping pattern so try to have patience if you have a tired and grumpy child on your hands in the days after the time change.