Tips to Prevent the Time Change Blues

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By Sarah Sekula, published on Florida Hospital’s blog
Just when you’ve got your family into a sound sleep routine, the end of Daylight Saving Time (Sunday, November 6) comes along to wreak havoc. If an extra hour of sleep sounds great, you’re not alone. But, it can present challenges of getting your kids out of bed in the morning.Below Stacy McConkey, MD, pediatrician, at Florida Hospital offers tips to help minimize the impact of daylight saving on your child’s sleep patterns.

To change his body clock to standard time:

In the week leading up to clocks returning to standard time, extend your child’s bedtime a little later each night so when the time changes, you won’t have a grumpy child on your hands begging for bed.

Even if you’re able to change your child’s bed time routine, he may continue to wake at his regular hour – now an hour earlier! There’s little you can do to control this but often kids who continue to wake early, get so tired after a week or two of the extra early daily start that they start to sleep longer. Just don’t put them to bed ‘early’ because they’re so tired from waking early!

Daylight saving tips
To keep little ones up long enough at night and asleep late enough in the morning, make sure they get natural light exposure in the evenings and keep their bedrooms dark at night. All daytime routines (meals, bath time) help keep them on schedule, so don’t be tempted to serve dinner earlier just because it’s dark outside. Keeping evening activities consistent can help you avoid time-change troubles.

If your child keeps waking too early, make sure he understands that you don’t consider this an acceptable time to start the day. Encourage him to doze but if he really wants to be awake, encourage him to stay in bed doing a quiet activity. Some parents put a clock beside their school-aged child’s bed and explain what time it has to be before they can get up for the day!

Children with good sleep routines – have a quiet time routine before bed, stay in their bed through the night and don’t need help to get to sleep – cope well with the changes in time as they know what to expect at the end of the day regardless of the time.

It usually takes a week after the clocks have changed for everyone, no matter what age, to be in a new sleeping pattern so try to have patience if you have a tired and grumpy child on your hands in the days after the time change.

When does daylight saving start and finish?

The end of daylight saving time is Sunday, November 6, and will begin again next year on Sunday, March 12, 2017.