Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sleep and The Time Change

Question: Looking for advice on how to handle sleep and wake times for daylight savings (Nov 1) and how to adjust the schedule for the smoothest transition. My girls (4.5 months) currently sleep from 8:15-7:30. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

My boys are now 6 1/2, and we still struggle with what to do for them. When they were babies until about 4, we would put them down as close to the "regular time" as possible. Keeping them up/putting them down earlier didn't work for us. In this case, it would be putting them down at 7:15...which seems early. But, we started there, and then kept them up 15 minutes or so longer each night and eventually we were working on a good schedule. Does that make sense? If we got frustrated, we just let them "take the lead" on their bedtime and put them down when they were tired. It's easier for us to adjust as adults than it was fighting them or forcing them when they weren't tired.

The book that I refer to whenever any sleep issues come up says that you should keep the kids on their regular schedule and they will adjust accordingly. I usually don't have a problem during this time change (when it gets darker earlier) because my boys associate darkness with going to bed, however, when it got darker later, I had to purchase room darkening curtains so that they can go to sleep. Your babies may wake up a bit early in the transition, but it will eventually work itself out on its own. Good luck!

I think "falling back" is always easier than "springing forward". After dinner the evening before (Oct. 31 in this case), I pretend the time change has already happened. So, I will try to keep my kids up that evening an extra 30 min to 1 hr. Then they usually sleep a little longer in the morning... getting up at their regular time. Then I just proceed on my normal schedule throughout Sunday and Monday. If they wake up early Sunday, I let them, but I do not adjust nap times or anything, letting the day play out as close to normal as possible. It is amazing how quickly kids adjust, especially with the "longer nights". Another suggestion... start several days before and make the adjustment in 15 min increments over several days. It's too much work for me, but I have heard it works.


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