Daylight Savings Time is no fun for anyone, but especially for parents of young children! Kids are creatures of routine, and they don’t understand the concept of loosing or gaining an hour. Below are some suggested strategies that you can and should start implementing at least a week before the time change to encourage an easier adjustment for your little one.
1. Gradually shift the schedule
For “Spring Forward,” gradually shift bedtime later. Start about 8-10 days before Daylight Savings Time, and every two days adjust bedtime later by 10-15 minute intervals. In the morning, wake them 10-15 minutes earlier. A child’s nap schedule should be adjusted, too! By adjusting the time slowly, kids won’t struggle as much with the change in time. For “Fall Back,” you can do the same, in reverse!
2. Dim the lights
Control melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, and helps you fall asleep! Melatonin increases as it becomes dark and slows when it becomes light. About 30 minutes to 1 hour before bedtime dim the lights and stop the use of electronics. These artificial light sources keep the body awake and alert, while dimming or turning them off allows melatonin to increase. Blackout curtains can also be helpful during spring and summer, when bedtime occurs before the sun sets.
3. Keep the routine
Stick with the same routine (bottle, diaper, stories, bed) that your little one is used to, especially at bedtime. We may be changing the time a bit, but keep the routine the same. Any change can be jarring to children, so maintaining as much consistency as possible is key.
4. Take care of yourself!
Make sure you are getting enough sleep during this transition too! Kids feed on our energy and emotions. If we are stressed and tired because of the time change, our little ones will not only feel stressed and tired, but they won’t know how to manage these emotions as readily as we do.
5. Be empathetic.
This change is stressful for your little one, and it may take them longer than you would expect for them to adjust. Be patient, because the more understanding we are, the easier it will be for them!
Ashley Newcomb has always been passionate about caring for children, supporting families, and serving the community. Born in Chicago and raised in Oklahoma, Ashley attended Saint Louis University earning undergraduate degrees in Exercise Science, Spanish, and Psychology before ultimately deciding to focus on her original love, working with children. She returned to her Chicago roots to attend Erikson Institute, where she earned her Masters Degree in Child Development.
While her career has taken her on a journey through schools, daycares, preschools, hospitals, and family homes Ashley has always felt called to empowering, supporting, and educating families throughout pregnancy, birth, and the first few years of family life. Joining the Bubbles Academy team in 2011, she worked her way from event assistant to Operations and Events Manager. Ashley loves that her work at Bubbles enables her to utilize her creative and playful spirit on a daily basis. She also works with families in the Chicagoland area as the founder of Leaps and Ladders Baby Planning and Child Development Consultants.