March 8, 2013 3:02 am
1. If you have a young baby with multiple naps and feedings per day or your little one has extra challenges adjusting to changes due to special needs or a delicate temperament, make the change more gradual. Begin moving waking, naps, and bedtimes 15 or 30 minutes a few days ahead of the official time change and keep moving earlier every day or two until you're at a full hour ahead. Spread it out over a long weekend by starting on Thursday or Friday so that by Sunday or Monday your schedule now matches the new time on the clock.
2. If your child is older, napping just once or not at all, or has a very adaptable temperament, try the quick-and-simple-approach immediately switching to the new clock. However, make the switch on Friday night / Saturday morning rather than Sunday just to give everyone an extra weekend day to adjust to the change. This is especially helpful if your child is in school.
3. Adjust feeding or mealtimes and other scheduled activities along with sleep times, and be especially consistent with your usual routines during the adjustment phase. So, for example, if bath time is usually at 6:00 followed by bedtime at 7:00 and you're moving everything up 30 minutes that day ahead of the change, make sure that bath time is at 5:30.
4. Make an effort to expose everyone in the family, yourself included, to bright light early in the morning to help ease the transition to your earlier wake times. Likewise, try dimming the lights or drawing the curtains in the early evening to encourage the new earlier bedtimes.
5. As we head into spring and summer and the sun shows up earlier in the morning and sticks around longer into the evening the further north you live, remember to keep your child's sleeping environment dark using blackout shades or heavy curtains in order avoid having a "little rooster" who arises at dawn.
6. If you happen to already have a little early riser, especially a baby or toddler who is not in daycare and whose daily schedule you can control, now may be your chance to make a change. Try shifting everything, including feeding or mealtimes, only 30 minutes back instead of the full hour. This way their wake time, feeding times and bedtime will all happen 30 minutes later on the clock after the time change.
Source: Dr. Sasha Carr, Family Sleep Institute/Off to Dreamland
Published with permission from RISMedia.