It’s that time of year, it’s time to “Spring Forward” into Daylight Savings Time. And parents of small children shake their heads because they know what’s coming, it is harder to get to sleep. They can already hear their child asking “Why do I have to go to bed when it’s still light out?”
Hush Buddy, a company devoted to science-based solutions to help toddlers get more sleep, is advising parents to try one of these 4 strategies to help kids adjust. Just select whichever one is best for your family:
Option 1: Adjust Gradually
Begin the week before the time change and shift your child’s bedtime, wake time and nap time by 15 minutes each day. In the spring, you would shift all those time earlier. In the fall, you would be adjusting the time 15 minutes later each day.
So, in the spring, you’d gradually change an 8:00 bedtime to 7:00, and then when you move the clocks ahead an hour, Voila! Bedtime is back to 8:00.
Option 2: Go Cold Turkey
You’re likely to have a grumpy child for a while. But one option is to make the switch on the day the clocks change. Some parents are forced to do this because the Daylight Savings Time change sneaks up on them. If that happened to you, you can make the best of it by doubling down on consistency. If you stick to your normal consistent bedtime routine throughout, your little one will adjust more quickly. When it doubt, consistency, consistency, consistency!
Option 3: Control the light
With a set of black out curtains in your child’s room, you’re now in complete control of the light conditions inside. Those light levels have a powerful impact on a little one’s ability to sleep. By blocking out the sun at night and naptime you help your kiddo forget that it’s still light outside. You can still have warm, amber colored nightlights like Whisper, the Hush Buddy to help set a comforting environment. But you’ve removed the blue light from outside which is important because it takes the body 45 minutes from the time blue light is removed to begin producing the sleep hormone melatonin.
Conversely, when it’s time to be awake, open the curtains to let natural light in or turn on lights.
Option 4: Ignore the clock, follow the sun
If you don’t need your little one to be up at a certain time, say, for preschool, then you have the freedom of simply ignoring what the clock says and following the sun. You’d be keeping bedtime the same according to their body clock. In the spring, for example, bedtime and wake times would shift an hour later according to the clock on the wall, but would be the same according to their body clock. You can then take your time to gradually adjust the times to whatever’s convenient for you.
As they curse Ben Franklin for promoting Daylight Savings Time, Hush Buddy reminds parents that bedtime always benefits from consistency. “Bedtime should be the same steps every night, in the same order every night done the same way every night,” says Hush Buddy co-founder and father of twins Scott Hanson. “As we adjust the time, that’s even more important. Your child and you will get more sleep as a result.”