On Sunday, it will be time to “spring forward”. This is great news for parents of early risers, but that extra sleep will only last a few days if you don’t allow your child to fully adjust to the new time. In order for your child to stay on track with bedtime and naptime, use these tips on how to help your child adjust to the time change and get back to his or her normal schedule.
Split the Difference
Whether the time change is forward or back, the easiest way to adjust your child to the new time is to “split the difference”. For example, if your child usually takes a morning nap at 9:30, you will adjust this to 10:00 am for the first 3 days, starting on Sunday morning. By doing this, you will actually be putting your child down 30 minutes earlier than normal, as it will FEEL like 9:00am. This could make it a little difficult for your child to fall asleep on the first day or so, but it won’t last long and it will allow the body to adjust gently to the new time. Make this same 30-minute adjustment for the afternoon nap(s).
At bedtime follow the same pattern. This means that if your child usually goes to bed at 7 PM, you will put him or her to bed at 7:30 PM for the first 3 nights following the time change (start on Sunday night, not Saturday). Again, this will FEEL like 6:30 to your child, so it may take a little longer than usual to fall asleep for the first few nights.
On the 4th day, move in line with the new time so your baby is back to taking naps at their regularly scheduled time. Do the same for bedtime and you will be back on track. It usually takes children about a week to fully adjust to the time change, so if you find your child’s sleep pattern is slightly off, don’t panic. Stick with your regular bed and naptime rules and you will be back on track in no time.