I am so excited to have this guest post from Lauren Lappen, a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant at Wee Sleep Solutions. In one of those amazing and serendipitous life moments, Lauren and I connected through her husband, who happens to be a high school classmate of mine! He saw my pleas for help when Audrey, my 3-year-old, stopped napping at school and connected me with Lauren. And she was generous and gracious enough to accept when I asked her to share some of her best tips with you, especially when it comes to daylight saving changes!
A few tricks to help ease your children’s transition to the time change
The dreaded daylight savings is upon us! It often feels like we just recovered from one time change, and another is approaching. So what can we do to help our kids adjust to this change (and keep our sanity!)?
In an ideal world, we could to begin to shift our children’s schedules a week ahead of time. Every few days we’d move their sleep and mealtimes by 15 minutes, so by the time daylight savings hits, they’ve already adjusted. Despite this being the “official recommendation” for a smooth daylight savings transition, I’ve yet to meet one person to actually do it (myself included with my own kids!). The world outside our homes doesn’t accommodate such a gentle shift; school starts when school starts and you need to get to work on time, not 15-45 minutes late.
Never fear! Here are some tips to help your children adjust to the new time.
- Expose your children to lots of sunlight during the day. Our circadian rhythms align with the sun, so exposure to natural light helps our bodies adjust to the appropriate time.
[Tweet “Prepare for the time change! Make sure your kids get lots of sunlight during the day.”]
- Now that it’s lighter later, children often protest going to bed when the sun is up. About 30 minutes prior to bedtime, dim the lights to help the body transition to nighttime. Room darkening shades can really help with this, too. Keep the environment calm, and quiet before bed to get children relaxed and ready to sleep.
[Tweet “Prepare for the time change! Do this 30 minutes before your kids’ bedtime and see a big change.”]
- Stick with your bedtime routine. If you don’t have a bedtime routine already, now is a great time to start. Children thrive on routines, so having one can be incredibly helpful to give structure to the time before bed. A quiet routine is calming to them and helps them relax and ease into bedtime. It can be as simple as pajamas on, brush teeth, read a book/sing a song, lights out. Don’t make it overly complex. You want this to be replicable daily, and easily done by a babysitter in your absence.
[Tweet “If you want to make the time change a bit easier, start a bedtime routine now.”]
- Minimize exposure to electronics at least an hour prior to bedtime. This is true all year round, but especially now when we’re trying to help kids adjust to daylight savings time. Electronic screens emit a blue light that mimics a bright, sunny sky and tricks the body into thinking it is daytime. The result of this is that melatonin, the hormone that helps induce sleep, is suppressed, making it more challenging to fall asleep.
If all else fails, find a big mug and fill it with coffee. I’m sure you’ll be in good company!
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At Wee Sleep Solutions, we believe sleep is as necessary to our bodies as the food we eat. Adequate sleep is essential for proper growth and development, and parents can only be at their best if well rested. It is our mission to ensure that every family gets the rest and sleep they need in order to live happy and healthy lives.
One sleep plan does not fit all! We realize that no two families are the same and we work with you to understand your family’s sleep needs. Together, we work to create a sleep plan that fits with both your parenting style and philosophy, as well as the individual personality of your child. Encouragement, guidance and support are provided throughout the sleep learning process, and families are given the tools they need to maintain healthy sleep habits.
Our practice specializes in:
- fostering positive sleep habits
- establishing a developmentally age appropriate nap schedule
- forming healthy sleep associations
- reducing medically unnecessary night feedings
- transitioning from a crib to a bed.
Lauren Lappen is co-founder of Wee Sleep Solutions and a graduate from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in Psychology and Educational Studies, and has an MBA from Babson College. She is also an ICF certified Coach through Fielding Graduate University. Mom to daughter Ellie and twins Rebecca and Kira, Lauren knows how it feels to be sleep deprived, and can empathize with others who are in desperate need of some rest. This experience in the trenches allows her to better assist families; having (sleep)walked in their shoes, she knows how essential it is to have a healthy sleep routine.