Lots of people start to worry that their little ones sleep schedules will be negatively impacted by any time change. There are reasons to be concerned; however, preparation is key.
Tomorrow the clocks will move back an hour. I use to love this time change as I loved the extra hour of sleep. But now I need to convince my two-year-old that it is not time to get up when he rises at 5:45 AM instead of 6:45 AM. This will take time, but I will get him back to his regular wake up.
Here are the things I will be doing:
1. Be patient. I have a tendency to get frustrated easily when I am sleep deprived, so I will remind myself regularly that I need to remain calm and patient. (Easier said than done.)
2. Ensure a dark sleeping environment. I will make sure his black out curtains are working well. If he wakes up to a bright window, he is awake for the day. If it is bright when going to sleep, it takes longer for him to fall asleep. The darkness naturally promotes an increase in his production of melatonin which helps him sleep.
3. Watch his sleep cues. On Sunday evening he will be tired at 6:30 PM as his body will think it is 7:30 PM. I will keep him up until 7:00 PM, which I know he can handle without getting over tired. This is key. An overtired child will wake up earlier than “normal.”
4. Move his sleep to his regular sleep time in 15-minute increments. Over the few days following the time change, I will increase his awake time in 15-minute increments until it returns to his regular sleep time of 7:30 PM.
5. Be as awake as possible when he wakes up. The early morning wake ups should reduce as his sleep time is moved back to his regular sleep time. I may have to drink an extra cup of coffee for a few days until he is back on track, but I will remind myself that it is not his fault for waking up early if he does.
I hope this time change is a smooth transition for everyone.