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How to Manage the Clock Change.

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One of the most common questions I have been asked recently from parents is how to manage sleep transitions with the clock change. Whether it’s daylight saving time or adjusting to a new time zone, changes in sleep schedules can be a challenging experience for both children and parents. Here to provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to navigate these transitions for children of all ages.

Older Children(No Nap):

For older children who no longer nap, the key to managing the clock change is to “split the difference” between the old and new bedtime. Let’s say their regular bedtime is 7 p.m. On the first night of the time change, you should put them to bed at 7:30 p.m. Gradually shifting bedtime can help them adjust more smoothly.

Toddlers (Over 1 and Older):

Toddlers thrive on routine, so adjusting their sleep schedule requires a bit more finesse. On the first day of the clock change, put them down for their nap(s) 30 minutes later than usual. Expect some grumpiness as they adapt. Additionally, shift their bedtime 30 minutes later for three consecutive nights. By night four, they should be ready to return to their regular bedtime.

Babies Over 4 Months:

For babies over four months, you’ll want to change their internal clock gradually. Follow a similar strategy to the older children but adjust bedtime by 15 minutes each night instead of 30. This slower pace can make the transition smoother for your little one.

Newborns:

Newborns are a bit different as their bedtime tends to be less predictable. When dealing with newborns, treat the time change as if you were travelling to a new time zone. Adjust their routine to match the new time on the first night. Newborns are more adaptable than you might think.

Tips for All Little Ones:

Regardless of age, there are some universal tips to help your children adjust to the new sleep schedule:

Keep Bedrooms Dark: Make sure your child’s bedroom is pitch black. Consider using blackout blinds or curtains to block out any external light, which can disrupt their sleep.

Stick to a Consistent Routine: Children thrive on routine. Keep meal times, playtimes, and other activities as consistent as possible, even if bedtime is changing.

Be Patient: Remember that it can take about a week for children and babies to fully adjust to the new schedule. Be patient with them during this transition period.

Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: Establish a calming bedtime routine that signals to your child that it’s time to wind down and sleep. This might include reading a book, a warm bath, or some gentle rocking.

Limit Screen Time: Avoid screen time for at least an hour before bedtime, as the blue light emitted from screens can interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.

Managing sleep transitions for children of all ages can be a bit challenging, but with a well-thought-out plan and some patience, you can help your little ones adjust smoothly to the new schedule. Remember that consistency and a calming bedtime routine are your allies in this process. If you need any further advice please get in touch. Sweet dreams!

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