Daylight Saving and Toddlers

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Daylight saving time is right around the corner and for adults it’s hard enough on our bodies but for children it’s even worse.  Losing an hour of sleep takes a big toll on the body.  Especially when your body and brain are still developing and sleep is such a vital part of child development.  Hopefully, daylight saving won’t be around much longer but what should we do in the meantime?

In order to make the time change the most successful, there are some strategies you can do the week leading into the time change.  I’ll help you walk through how it works in this post.

Go into the week knowing that you can do the following things:

Why plan for 4-nights in advance?

The reason for this is because it is a more gradual approach.  It is unreasonable for us to expect that a toddlers body will transition like ours.  Yes it does take longer.  However, it will be easier on your toddler and your family. 

Why push their bedtime back later when we are going to be losing an hour?

By pushing their bedtime back, their late bedtime will actually turn into the time you want them to go to bed when the time change takes effect.

You can use this sample schedule as a guide to help you follow along through this post.  This schedule is based on my son who is currently 22-months old.  Change the schedule accordingly, based on your family’s schedule.

Since daylight saving time is on a Sunday, you are going to want to start changing your child’s schedule no later than Thursday which is considered Night 1.

Day 1/Night 2 is considered to be Friday.  The goal is that since your child went to bed 15 minutes later the night before, then they will wake up 15-minutes later the next day which will help guide their daily schedule.  If that isn’t the case, I would recommend you try to leave your toddler in their room for that additional time as long as they seem content. If you go in the room early, it is a cue for them that the day is ready to start.

You will want to adjust their daily schedule in 15-minute increments. On Friday, you will be adjusting their bedtime routine by 30-minutes.  See below.

Continue to follow these steps until you reach Sunday night. By Sunday, bedtime should be a total of an hour later due to daylight saving.

I know that this seems like a lot of extra work for you, however I have seen this work first hand if it is done correctly.  The week right after daylight saving is so hard on children if their schedule was not adjusted.  Obviously no one knows your children and family better than you.  Some children may only need the night before, some may need 2 nights adjusted in 30 minute increments and some may not even notice the change.  It is up to you to determine what works best for you and your family and hopefully you can all continue with a good night’s sleep.

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