The End of Daylight Saving Time is Coming! (Triona Coakelin)

While we’ve been enjoying a warmer than usual Fall in Toronto it’s easy to forget that the end of Daylight Saving Time is quickly approaching! While moving the clock back an hour makes adults sleepy for a couple of days as their bodies adjust to the change, it can take children a little longer to assume a new sleep routine. But, there are ways to minimize the impact of Daylight Saving Time on your child’s sleep patterns.

There are two options when considering the time change – do nothing, or be proactive. Your decision will depend on one of two things:

If your child wakes later in the morning than you’d like…
…good for you! The time change will bring your child’s schedule back by a full hour, so this should solve
any late-waking problems you may be having.
If your child wakes earlier in the morning than you’d like…
…I’m sorry. One of the most common things I hear from parents is ‘my baby wakes too early’! This time
change is probably going to be tough and you definitely want to be proactive so that you aren’t up at 4am!

Try not to worry too much, there ARE steps you can take to minimize disruption. In the week leading up to the time change gradually adjust your child’s schedule (wake-up, naps and bedtime) by 10-15 minutes every couple of days. For example, if your little one usually wakes around 6.30am and you would like it to remain that way work towards getting him up at 7.30am (and shift everything else ahead too) –that way, after the time changes he should be waking around 6.30am again and his whole day will adjust accordingly.

 

Practical tips to reduce the stress:
1. Adjust nap times by 15 minute increments. Try to avoid longer than usual naps unless your little one is unwell.
2. The timing of mealtimes helps set children’s internal biological clocks and sleep/wake cycles, so move your child’s mealtimes 15 minutes later in relation to sleep times and your planned bedtime.
3. Consistent and predictable routines are very important – Start the bedtime routine 15 minutes later and keep it stable. The steps and rituals you include within your routine help create feelings of security and emotional well-being for babies and children by providing a predictable, loving wind-down to sleep. It’s your routine steps that will help your child predict sleep and make sleep easier.
4. Avoid screen time before bed!
5. Lots of outdoor play and fresh air will help promote sleep (reset their melatonin levels, a hormone associated with sleep) and help your child get to sleep quicker. So enjoy being outside before the snow comes!

Many children are not affected by a small difference in time so it is simpler and easier to make a quick adjustment by doing the immediate shift. Ultimately, you know your child best so you’ll be able to identify which plan will work best for you. Just make sure you have a plan in place to avoid a horribly early wake up call on Sunday morning… and some strong coffee in case you need it!

Sleep well,
Triona

Triona Coakelin is a Certified Infant & Toddler Sleep Coach and Toronto Mom. After having her son in 2015 she decided not to return to her corporate marketing job and instead help other families by giving them the gift of sleep in a gentle, loving way. For more information visit .

 

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