A Sleep Consultant Offers Tips to Get Your Child Back on Track After the Time Change

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BY KIM SCHAF/Founder of Sleep Training Solutions and the Midwest Regional Director for the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants

Many parents are downright stressed about the upcoming time change on November 3rd. You’ve worked hard to get your child on a sleep schedule and then BAM! — time to stir up the pot and make it interesting again. At least it will be good and dark at bedtime.

Here are some tips to make the new routine go much more smoothly:

1) Don’t change the clocks on Saturday night before you go to bed
… unless you have somewhere to be early on Sunday morning! It’ll just make you grumpy getting up with your kiddo an hour earlier than normal. Instead, put your child to bed at his normal bedtime on Saturday night and let him sleep as long as he wants Sunday morning (which, if he’s on a good sleep schedule, will be the same time he always wakes up!) Then, once everyone’s up and moving, you can change all of the clocks in the house…

2) Adjust sleep times by 30 minutes the first 3 days. 
So if your baby usually takes a morning nap at 9:30am, move it to 9am (which will be 10am on his body clock). And don’t forget to push the afternoon nap a half hour earlier too. Beginning Sunday night, adjust bedtime as well. If your child is usually in bed at 7pm, move it a half hour earlier to 6:30pm (which will be 7:30pm on his body clock). Your child will be a little more tired going into each sleep, but if you notice that there’s no way he’ll make it 30 extra minutes (particularly for babies), you can do the adjustment in 15 minute increments to help prevent overtiredness.

3) Beginning the fourth day, complete the time adjustment
. On Day 4 following the time change, adjust naps and bedtime so they fall at their regularly scheduled times.

4) Give babies space in the morning. 
If your baby was waking up at 7am, now she’ll likely be waking at 6am immediately following the time change. On Day 1, give her a little time when she wakes up (~10 minutes) before you go in. Keeping her in the dark bedroom will help reset her body clock to start waking up later.
On Day 2, give her a bit more time (~15 minutes) and continue over the next week or so until she’s adjusted and waking up at her normal time.

To see Kim’s other tips and more information about helping children get a good night’s rest, please visit: http://sleeptrainingsolutions.com/2013/10/6-tips-to-get-your-child-back-on-track-after-daylight-savings-ends-in-the-fall/

Kim Schaf, M.A.T., is the Founder of Sleep Training Solutions and the Midwest Regional Director for the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants. She is the expert on getting babies and toddlers how to fall asleep, stay asleep and take restful naps!