(BPT) – Adults are not typically affected by daylight saving time, but the change can turn an infant’s world upside-down. Many parents worry that springing ahead just one hour will cause chaos to their little one’s sleep routine.
A whopping 77 percent of parents with kids ages 4 and younger are concerned with daylight saving time affecting their children’s sleep patterns, according to a recent Pampers survey, and 59 percent dread the disruption to their children’s sleep schedule more than they dread tax season.
“Many parents experience anxiety about modifying sleep schedules for the upcoming time change,” says “The Sleep Lady” Kim West, a leading child sleep expert, licensed family therapist, and author of “Good Night, Sleep Tight.” “Infants 5 months and older have more established sleep patterns, so by taking a proactive approach, you can help them adjust well so you both can get quality rest without frustration.”
Daylight saving time officially occurs this year at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 8th. To help you and your child navigate this transition seamlessly, West offers her best tips:
1. Make napping a priority
One of the best things you can do to help your child cope with the time change is to make sure they are well-rested before it occurs. A well-napped child will handle the change in routine better than a tired child.
2. Select a transition method
For kids 2 and older, change your clocks before you go to bed and begin to adjust your schedule the next day. Parents should follow their daily routine according to the new time on the clock, but in reality, everything will be pushed ahead one hour because of the time change. For example, if your child naps at 1 p.m., it will actually be noon. The beauty of this method (and the spring time change vs the fall): if you have an early-rising child, they should wake up at a more acceptable hour!
For babies or those younger children who have trouble with change, a gradual schedule migration is best. Start by making a 30-minute adjustment to all meals, snacks and naps. Stick to this schedule for three days and then add another 30 minutes so you are fully adjusted to the full-hour change.
3. Keep baby’s diaper dry
Having a dry diaper is key to ensuring that a little one sleeps through the night. Pampers diapers provide up to 12 hours of overnight protection and are up to three times drier than ordinary diapers, helping to avoid unnecessary night-waking and to ensure a well-rested baby who quickly adjusts to time changes. Visit www.pampers.com to learn more.
4. Beware of screen time
At least 30 minutes before bed, make sure there are no bright lights or screens around your child. These lights interfere with the necessary melatonin production to make your child sleepy and therefore will cause bigger bedtime struggles.
5. Use black-out shades
Controlling the light in a room can help your child adjust and sleep better. If you do not already have them, consider installing room-darkening shades to block out light during sleep hours.
6. Wake up to light
Expose your child to bright sunlight in the mornings during this transition by fully opening the shades. If it’s pleasant outside, consider taking a morning walk. Exposure to natural light first thing in the morning will help to reset his internal clock more quickly (and yours, too).
7. Be flexible
Some children will adjust immediately while others will need a gradual transition. Be as consistent as possible, but be aware of your child’s sleepy cues and make this transition slowly if necessary. Some children will need a few weeks to fully adjust, so listen to your parental instincts.