With the time change approaching, I have received many e-mails and phone calls from parents asking how they can help their baby and toddler transition to the new time without upsetting their child’s sleep. Starting Sunday, March 12, clocks will be set forward one hour: “spring forward.” You can help your child by starting adjustments ahead of the time change. Beginning Tuesday night (March 7), begin to put your child down 10 minutes earlier for bed. You can do this by comforting, singing, reading, and starting the bedtime routine 10 minutes earlier. Continue this for the rest of the week. When the time change happens, your baby or toddler will have slowly adjusted to the new time.
If your child’s bedtime is 7:00 pm, it will look like this:
• Tues. 6:50 pm bedtime
• Wed. 6:40 pm bedtime
• Thurs. 6:30 pm bedtime
• Fri. 6:20 pm bedtime
• Sat. 6:10 pm bedtime
• Sun. 7 pm bedtime (new time, old time would have been 6 pm)
You may notice that your child may start yawning at 5 or 6 pm. Alternatively, you may notice that your child is waking up earlier, at 6am or earlier. Darken up your child’s room with darkening drapes, or shades, to help them to sleep a little later. Also, you can take this time to make some schedule/routine adjustments. For example, if your child goes to bed on the early side and wakes early in the morning (5/6 pm-5/6 am) you may decide to keep their bedtime the same without using the 10-minute adjustments suggested above. So, if your baby goes to bed at 6 pm, don’t make any adjustments and with the time change and his new bedtime will be 7 pm. It takes about a week for a baby/toddler to adjust to the new time. Your little one may be a bit cranky, or seem more tired and may need more nap times during the day. Adjust to your child’s needs and put down for a nap 15 minutes earlier if your child seems overly tired. Otherwise, stick to your routine and keep the daytime naps the same time.
“This article is written by Dr. Angelique Millette, the creator of The Millette Method™ a toolbox approach for pediatric sleep. The Millette Method™ is an evidence-based family sleep approach informed by scientific research in child development, resiliency, sleep science, lactation, perinatal mental health, attachment, culture, neuropsychology, and family systems. If you would like to find out more about The Millette Method™ and how to best help your child sleep, please contact me at candybeers-kim.com“