1. Start TODAY.
Start adjusting your child’s bedtime before the time change. In the days leading up to the switch, begin adjusting your child’s bedtime by 10 to 15 minutes. In the case of “spring forward,” put them to bed earlier.
2. Sync their internal clock naturally.
Our bodies’ natural clock, or circadian rhythm, is what helps us feel awake during the day and sleepy at night. This rhythm is regulated by melatonin, a hormone naturally released at different times each day. The release of melatonin is regulated by light receptors in our eyes. When it’s dark outside, melatonin increases, making us sleepy. When it’s light outside, melatonin decreases, waking us up. Exposing your child to light early in the day, like eating breakfast near a window, can help them begin to adjust to their new schedule.
3. Avoid screen time before bed.
Speaking of melatonin, the light from devices such as cell phones, TVs, and tablets can interfere with the release of melatonin, making it harder for your little one to fall asleep. Try ending any screen time at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
4. Don’t forget the rest of their schedule.
Adjusting their sleep schedule by 10 to 15 minutes also means the rest of your littles one’s schedule should be adjusted as well. They’re likely to get hungry earlier and need a nap earlier as well.
5. Remember, this won’t last forever.
Eventually, you’ll be back to regular sleep and happy kids—at least until the next time the time changes. Good luck!
Story adapted from this article.