Helping your kids 'spring forward'

Friday, March 7, 2014

Daylight Saving Time is here!

Hopefully this means that spring is around the corner ... warmer weather, longer days for the kids to play outside, and spring flowers blooming.

The good news is that "springing forward" is less problematic for our little ones than "falling back," the end of Daylight Saving in the fall. Some lucky parents may even be able to get their early risers to wake a bit later in the morning.

Renee Wasserman, Certified Child Sleep Consultant by the Family Sleep Institute and Founder of SleepyHead Solutions in St. Louis offers some child sleep tips for getting back to a regular schedule after the Daylight Saving shift:

Sleep tips

If your child usually sleeps until 6 a.m., today he or she will, most likely, sleep until 7 am.

For those of you who have early risers, you can use this time change to your advantage to help your little one get on a later schedule. Their entire day will shift an hour later (naps, bedtime, meals, etc.)

If the later wake time works in your favor, then you do not need to do much. With the sun rising earlier in the morning, use room darkening or black out shades to keep out any early morning sunlight that may creep through (even black garbage bags taped to the windows work well).

A sound machine will help muffle outside noises such as barking dogs and early morning birds that may be waking your baby.

Other tips

If your little one needs some help to get back to her regular schedule, try these suggestions:

* On Sunday, wake your child at the time that she normally wakes (6, 6:30, 7 a.m.) according to the new time. It will feel like an hour earlier to them but they will adjust.

* If your little one is still napping, nap them at their regular nap times according to the new clock. Do not let them nap longer than they usually nap.

* Tonight, put he or she down at her regular bedtime (according to the new time).

* Continue with their well-established schedule according to the new time (same wake times, nap times, bed times and feeding times).

Be sure to expose your child to lots of natural light in the mornings and continue with all of your normal activities to help reset her internal clock to the new time.

Just because it is light outside later into the evening, be sure to put your little one to bed at the time he oe she needs.

An overtired child leads to difficulty falling asleep, more nighttime wakings, and early wakings in the morning and a well-rested child leads to a happier child and a happier mom and dad

However you decide to handle Daylight Saving, be patient with yourself and your child. Keep in mind that it may take up to a week for your child's sleep schedule to adjust.

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