Daylight savings can seriously mess up a solidified sleep schedule but here are 3 ways to help your child get acclimated to the Springtime change:
Take It Slow
It takes some time to adapt to that loss of sleep, so don’t just set the clock forward an hour one night and expect your child to get right back in sync! Help them adjust by gradually shifting your kid’s bedtime in preparation for daylight savings time. If your child goes to bed at 8 p.m., about four days before the time change, put them to bed at 7:45 p.m., then 7:30 p.m., and so on until they’re going to bed as close to 7 p.m. as possible. Try waking them up a little earlier, as well. Doing this little by little is not as much of a shock to the system as it is when you abruptly expect your child to fall asleep an hour earlier after the time change. If it’s too difficult to get your child to bed earlier then just focus on advancing the wake-up time instead.
Light Is Key
Our bodies create a hormone called melatonin, which helps to regulate your body’s internal circadian clock, increasing in the evening as it becomes dark and shuts down when it’s light out. But daylight savings time throws off the natural cycle and that can be particularly difficult for kids.
Try dimming the lights in your child’s bedroom and turning off all electronics about 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. According to The National Sleep Foundation, devices can reduce sleep time, sleep quality, and daytime alertness because of the light exposure as well as the fact that they engage the brain right before bedtime. In the morning, get your child in natural sunlight as much as possible by having breakfast outside or have your child help walk the dog. If going outside is not an option, turn on the lights in the house so it’s nice and bright.
Routine, Routine, Routine
It’s important to stick with a bedtime routine. During daylight savings, your child deals with a change in their schedule that might throw them off. For young children, it’s absolutely critical that they have a routine during bedtime as that’s what helps create a powerful signal for sleep. Giving your child a warm bath, reading them a book, and snuggling together before lights out not only provides much-needed family time, but also provides a steady routine that signals when it’s time for bed.
Remember to be extra patient with yourself and your children as tantrums might be on the horizon and sluggishness may creep in. Daylight savings time is a difficult time for everyone but with a little prep, symptoms of a change in sleep schedule can disappear after a few days!
With spring knocking on our door, that means it’s also time to begin thinking about the summer camp programs your child will be involved with. If you’re looking for a fun and exciting way to stimulate your child’s creativity and help them build life skills, consider contacting the Drama Kids International location nearest you to learn more about the summer drama camps that will be held this year!