Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Daylight Savings Time: Helping Your Child Adjust

Sunday, March 14 is Daylight Savings Time. This can cause some major problems for both parents and children alike. If your child already awakes at 6am, the thought of him or her waking at 5am can seem daunting and downright scary to most parents, and especially working moms- who need all the sleep they can get.

It can take more time for a toddler or baby to adjust to a new routine than an older child, but there are ways to minimize the disruption.

Here are some ideas to help your child adjust to springing ahead:

Plan early: Because daylight savings time falls on a Sunday, spring ahead your clocks Friday so you can have the weekend to get your child into the new routine. This will also make your workweek easier to adjust to if your body is used to the time change as well. If you have appointments during the weekend, just change the child’s clock ahead early.

Put them to bed early: Put your child to bed 30 minutes early on Friday and then a full hour early on Saturday to prepare for the time change on Sunday. Move your bedtime routine up slowly so the change is gradual instead of suddenly.

Keep it dark: Consider investing in room darkening blinds or a white noise machine to help your child fall asleep as the days become longer. Limiting light in the room will help them relax and fall asleep.

Stay Firm: If your child wakes early, put them back to bed as you normally would and encourage them to read a book or play quietly in their room until it is time to start the day. If your child is old enough, put a clock next to their bed and explain when it is time to wake up and start the day. For example, when this hand is on this number, or when you see the number 7 and two 0’s, you can come out of your room.

It can take a couple of days for adults to adjust to time change, so expect about a week for a child to adjust. But if you have an already established bedtime ritual, continue as normal and your child will soon settle into the new routine.

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