Shift in bedtime routine helps kids adjust to daylight-saving time

Assistant professor of Pediatrics Jennifer Chambers, M.D.(University of Alabama at Birmingham)offers some tips to resolve potential sleep issues:

  • Stick to the schedule. Be strict with your children’s normal bedtime in the week prior to the time change. If bedtime is 8 p.m., start your bedtime routine early enough that they can be asleep by bedtime or a little earlier.
  • Eat meals on time or 30 minutes earlier. Meal times help set the day's routine more than anything else.
  • Put kids to bed a little early the night of the time change so that they wake up earlier. (You can savor this last night of easy bedtime after the kids are asleep.)
  • Don't let them sleep late the first morning of daylight-saving time; you need them to be tired by bedtime. Early morning sun will reset the internal clock faster than anything else, so get them outside early in the morning if possible.
  • Shift naps earlier and do not extend them the first week. Some may be tempted to skip a nap in hopes this will make the child go to bed earlier, but some children will not rest as well during the night if they are overtired.
  • Explain daylight-saving time if your child is old enough to understand. They will be less likely to resist going to bed “early” if they understand it. Many children will find it intriguing and ask a multitude of questions about the ability to change time.
  • Be a little lax with bedtime the week after the time change. Set bedtime 30 minutes later than normal during this week to make the transition smoother and return children to their regular bedtime the next week, after their bodies have adjusted. But, still begin the bedtime routine at the regular time so they can calm down and get sleepy. For more details ....

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