Be Prepared for the Time Change
Daylight Saving Time (DST) in Canada starts on the 2nd Sunday in March and ends on the 1st Sunday in November. For parents of young children, this time change is dreaded. It can result in early waking or a disrupted schedule and can last a few days.
Here are some tips to smooth the transition. Use one or a combination of these methods and your child’s sleep schedule should be back on track shortly.
Tip 1 – Cold Turkey
When the time changes, switch to the new time right away. Also switch meals, activities, and naps to the new time. Wake up times may be a bit off for a few days but they will adjust. If your child is fairly easy going, adjustment should be quick and painless with this method. Exposing your child to bright lights or daylight in the morning after the ‘new’ 6 AM will help naturally set your child’s body clock.
Tip 2 –Work Up To It
This is helpful for children that may be sensitive to being overtired, to changes in schedules, or who tend to wake up early. Start 4 days before the time change by moving bedtime and wake-up time 15 minutes later each day. You can take an even slower approach if you want to. At the new wake up time, make a big deal about morning, turning the lights on and exposing your child to the out-door light as much as possible.
If your child is already waking up before 6 AM, this method can help avoid extremely early wake times. You can also try holding off on the morning feed and exposure to the light for an additional 15 minutes each day in the morning.
Tip 3 – Fix It After
Wait until the day of the time change and adjust the child’s schedule over the following days. This method is good for children that tend to get overtired; however it can make for some early mornings and can take longer. Most children will naturally adjust to the new time within a week.
Special Case: Halloween!
Every few years, Halloween falls on a Saturday, meaning that the end of Daylight Saving Time happens the same night! This double whammy can really impact your child’s sleep. Ask us about our separate handout on surviving Halloween for tips on how to maintain your sleep schedule on one of the most eventful evenings of the year. (This is for when your child is older and goes out for Trick or Treating)