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Baby and Toddler Sleep Schedules and Daylight Savings

by Melanie Venuti • March 13th, 2017

Happy Daylight Savings! Here are 6 ways to navigate your kiddos through the time change.

Make gradual changes over the course of a week. In the Spring, each night, put your child to bed 15 minutes earlier,  and every morning, wake them up 15 minutes earlier. In the fall, put your child to bed 15 minutes later than usual, and in the morning, wake them up 15 minutes later than usual. This will help you reach your target bed and wake time without causing change too fast. “The biggest challenge of  day light savings is bedtime resistance, so you need to adjust bedtime slowly. Trust me on this. If you don’t adjust bedtime slowly, you will have a baby or toddler who starts to cry, protest, get out of bed, or try to negotiate with you.” Teresa Stewart, Stewart Family Solutions.

Understand the Circadian Rhythm,
also known as the body’s internal clock which regulates the body’s cycle of many functions, including sleep and wake cycles, is also important.

Use Light and Dark.
Melatonin, the hormone that regulates your bodies circadian rhythm increases in the evening as it becomes darker. This process helps induce sleep. Production of melatonin stops with exposure of light, increasing wakefulness. In the spring, keeping the room dark in the evening even if it’s light outside, and light in the morning, even if it’s dark, will help regulate your child’s body’s biological clock. In the fall, keep lights bright inside until bedtime.

Cut a Little Slack. When off their typical routine, most older children and toddlers alike will test limits. Cut them a little bit of slack if they are perhaps resisting rules, keeping in mind they are adjusting and a little sleep deprived.

Gradually Adjust Naps. Naps are driven by sleep pressure, or how tired kiddos are, and not the circadian rhythm. Therefore, have some more flexibility when it comes to nap time. You may have a couple days where the day is not quite normal, but as your child adjusts, you will see things fall back into place.

Make Routines Work For You.
Keep in mind that it may take a couple days to get back on track, but if you stick with a plan, day lights savings doesn’t need to be a nightmare. Read more about establishing routines, here.


Looking for more help with sleep? Check out our sleep training classes and workshops, or take a child development class for more information!

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