This is part two of our Daylight Savings series of putting the clocks back! Daylight savings and toddler sleep can be quite challenging since toddlers have a well established routine and biological clock. Learn more about your child’s biological or if you child is yet to be a toddler head over to part one of daylight savings. What can we do as parents to ease this routine disruption and avoid really early mornings and a cranky, tired child?
How to ease your way into Daylight Savings with a toddler.
1. Meet them halfway.
Instead of going back a full hour, go back 30 minutes. When a child is within 30 minutes of their regular nap and bedtime, there is little to disruption in their routine.
2. Three Days.
Keep their schedule at this 30 minute time for three days before you put the clock back 30 more minutes to the full hour.
It is really important to stay VERY consistent during these adjustments. It can take up to a week to fully adjust.
What about early morning wake ups?
Since your child’s body is internally scheduled to wake up at the same time each morning, they will wake up at their regular time despite the clocks saying something different. As parents you need to give them clear, simple cues to help them understand what is expected of them. There are a couple things you can do! First start with steps one through 3 above. Within those steps you can do this for the early morning wake ups.
- By moving their bedtime back by 30 minutes this will help with the early wake up.
- If they still wake up at their regular wake up time(an hour early), wait 10 minutes before going into the bedroom to get them up.
- The next morning if it happens again, wait 15 minutes.
- Add 5-10 minutes each day until you reach the hour mark.
This is a clear and simple cue to tell them it is not time to wake up, and as you push their bedtime back after 3 days to the full hour they will gradually adjust their internal clock.
Tips and tricks for daylight savings.
At night you will have darkness on your side to get your child to bed earlier. The morning however will still be dark. Try exposing your child to light(artificial is fine) as soon as you get them up for the day. This helps support their body in releasing the correct hormones to wake up for the day at the time you want them to wake up.
Ok to wake clocks.
Ok to wake clocks are great for toddlers to understand when it is time to go to sleep and when it is time to wake up. Start with putting it back 30 minutes and tell them in simple instructions to wait until it is green in the morning to get up for the day. Kids love this independent job and get excited to see it turn green! This works great for toddlers 2.5 and up.
Be patient and consistent.
These tools and tips will work with consistency and patience. They might sound too easy, simple and easy is exactly what your toddler needs. However, If your child is already having sleep difficulties before daylight savings, these tips will most likely not help you. For more support you can reach out to me for a customized sleep plan to fit your child’s unique needs. Schedule your free 30-minute call today! Best of luck this weekend and in the upcoming week. You’ve got this!