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How to Help Babies and Toddlers Adjust to Daylight Savings

by Cindy Davenport September 26, 2018

How to Help Babies and Toddlers Adjust to Daylight Savings

Sunday 6th October will mark the start of daylight savings (EST) – the beginning of longer days, later nights and warmer weather!  The downside for many parents, however, is that for babies and toddlers the changing of times can interfere with their little body clocks and add an extra challenge to bedtimes! Here are some things parents can do to help their baby/toddler adjust more easily to this change.

Plan and make the adjustment slowly

Babies and toddlers can’t cope with abrupt changes. The key to adjusting to daylight savings is to make the changes gradually. We recommend that parents start the process around 5 days before the start of daylight savings and change the baby’s or toddler’s routine in 15 minute increments each day. This means waking the child up, giving them lunch /dinner and putting them to bed 15 minutes earlier than the day before. Once the clock changes you will have begun the progressive move so it won’t feel so hard for so long.

For example: if your baby has a 7pm bedtime

Day

Routine 

Night time Bedtime

Day 1 Wednesday

Keep same usual pattern of sleep & feed times

7pm

Day 2 Thursday

Sleep & feed times 15 minutes earlier; so the first feed of the day should start at 6.45am not 7am

6.45pm

Day 3 Friday

Sleep & feed times 30 minutes earlier; so the first feed of the day should start at 6.30am not 7am

6.30pm

Day 4 Saturday

Sleep & feed times 45 minutes earlier; so the first feed of the day should start at 6.15am not 7am

6.15pm

Day 5 Sunday

Clocks have changed. Wake your child at 7am (new time) and back on usual routines.

7.00pm (new daylight savings time)

 

Stick with the sleep routine

It’s especially important to stick with the usual bedtime routine, for example bath, story and cuddles, as your child is now dealing with a change in schedule.  Children love the sense of predictability and it will give them the powerful signal that it is bedtime!

Speak to your Early Childhood Centre

If your baby or toddler attends childcare, speak to the staff and let them know what changes you will be making and discuss how they can support you.

Control the light

Blocking out sunlight in the evening and morning can help your child adjust to their new sleep times. Invest in some blackout blinds, or even use some carboard or black plastic on the windows.

Be patient and sympathetic

It will generally take about a week after daylight savings for your child to adjust to their new sleep pattern. During this time you may notice that they may be a little more grumpy or tired. Try and be understanding if they are particularly cranky or clingy. Finally, don’t forget to look after yourself too! Adults can also feel sluggish and cranky during this time too so make sure you are also getting the rest you need.

For more infant and toddler sleep and settling information visit www.safesleepspace.com.au




Cindy Davenport
Cindy Davenport

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