The spring change is undoubtedly a LOT better than Falling Back when talking about kids.
Back in college or in the working world, Spring Forward was the worst. You had to shift your body and somehow trick it into waking up a whole hour early to fit your schedules. Now, the cards have turned! All of a sudden it’s 8 am and your kiddo is still asleep! A dream come true!
The change can still mess with your little sleeper though and it will definitely mess with your schedule, so here are a couple of methods you can use to tackle the change as smoothly as possible.
Start moving up your kid’s bedtime little by little 4 (or 5) days before The Day (This year it falls on March 11th so you can start next week). So if your child’s bedtime is 7:30, put him down at 7:15 on Wednesday then 7:00 on Thursday …. Etc etc until you reach a desired time on Sunday March 11th) Tip: Tire your kid (I mean make her run marathons) out whenever you’re planning on putting him down earlier. You are also going to want to wake up your child 10-15 minutes earlier every day building up to THE DAY. You’ll start setting off his circadian rhythm (expose him to the sun as early as possible) so that he’s tired ‘earlier’ in the day. Please don’t just wake up your child a bit earlier if you don’t also intend on moving bedtime up: you don’t want to get to March 11th with an overtired tot and more hours in the day. (or is it less hours? Why is it so confusing?)
Go cold Turkey. On March 11th simply put your kid to bed an hour earlier than he’s accustomed! Honestly, I don’t really recommend this because it could lead to unnecessary battles... Again, be sure to tire your kid out if you’re going to put him down any earlier than he’s used to. Wake him up at the desired time the next day.
Whichever method you chose to try, follow these tips to help you out:
Expose your child to as much sunlight as you can during the day. The sun is SO important for our body’s alertness.
Make his sleep environment as conducive to sleep as you can: ie dark and quiet. This will help cue his body to release melatonin and relax when it’s time to.
Also, cut out all sunlight and make his environment a lot darker than normal 30-60 minutes before his new bedtime. This will help body regulation as it prepares for sleep. Think: no screens (not that you ever let your child watch screens an hour before bedtime, you protect that melatonin buildup!) no bright lights, no super loud noises.
This of course may not be possible, and is not SUPER necessary, it’s just an added advantage you can give your child’s body.
Don’t change other things about your schedule, be as consistent as possible. Emphasize your strict bedtime routine starting TODAY so that any shift in schedule next week is barely noticeable.
Be patient with your child and with yourself. They may get more overtired than usual and be a little more cranky as their bodies go through this change (think Jet Lag).
Use the same method with for naps when possible.
Happy Spring Forward!
..... Said no parent ever