The hard work parents have put into getting their kids on a sleep schedule is disrupted twice a year due to daylight saving time. It's fall, and soon daylight saving time will end, meaning you will have to "fall back" to normal hours. This requires you to set the clock back one hour and wonder how daylight saving time will affect your toddler's sleep this time around.
Kids change quickly, especially in the toddler years. The child who was a rock star sleeper during "spring forward" may completely fall apart when the clock turns back six months later. The opposite is true, as well, so it's important that parents plan ahead for any scenario that daylight saving time can throw their way. Thankfully, most sleep issues related to daylight saving time are only temporary.
Most people find the practice of changing the clocks antiquated and unnecessary. And even celeb moms like Jennifer Garner have publicly bemoaned the sleep-related consequences of DSL for parents, in particular. But until the laws are changed, our poor kids will have to try their best to go with the flow. Here are some ways the end of daylight saving time may affect your toddler's sleep this fall.
1. They Will Fall Asleep Earlier
An earlier sunset means your toddler may associate the darkness with bedtime. This is great if you have a night owl, but if your toddler is already hitting the sack at 7:30 p.m., they might start to get sleepy during dinner time. Today's Parent suggested pushing bedtime back an additional 15 minutes each day for a few days prior to the time change until you reach the hour. Then, when the clocks are changed, your toddler is already used to going to bed on time.
2. They Will Wake Up Earlier
Children's circadian rhythms, or natural sleep clock, will automatically wake them up an hour early, explained the Today's Parent. If your toddler wakes up with the sun, he will wake up earlier after daylight saving time ends. The Bump recommended room darkening shades to help keep your little one in bed longer. Blackout curtains will help keep the light out first thing in the morning so that your toddler doesn't rouse with the sunlight.
3. Their Nap Schedule Gets Thrown Off
If your toddler is waking up earlier, his nap time will be thrown off, as well. This can mean major meltdowns from being overtired. Incrementally change nap time in the same way you changed bed time to get him adjusted to the time change. Parents suggested being extra forgiving of your child's temper tantrums during the first few days after the time change.
4. They May Fall Into A Sleep Regression
For some toddlers, daylight saving time gets them so out of whack that they start waking in the middle of the night again. Don't fall into the trap of reintroducing sleep associations that they have given up such as giving them a bottle or rocking them to sleep warned Baby Sleep Site. This can undo all of their progress. Comfort your child for a few minutes, and be sure to leave the room before they falls asleep.
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