Time to Fall Back and Say Goodbye to Daylight Savings Time
According to the calendar, this weekend we’re supposed to get an extra hour of sleep as daylight savings time ends…tell that to our kids!
It’s not my favorite time of year because so many already sleep deprived parents now have children waking earlier than normal and they’re getting even less sleep than before. Children tend to wake up around the same time each day, so even adding another hour doesn’t make them sleep later and frankly, parents get anxious as the time change date gets closer. My best advice for parents to help their children adjust to the time change is to split the difference with the old time and the new time to gradually change their bedtime and naps (if they still do) over the course of a week to get them “back” to the new time. Here are a few tips to help you all adjust, starting this weekend.
Saturday night: Do nothing! Leave your clocks alone. Enjoy your evening and get some sleep that night.
Sunday morning: Have a relaxing family breakfast and then go around the house and change any clocks that haven’t changed already. No, I don’t know how to change the time on your oven…that would require a whole separate post.
How do you do it?
Infants - If you have a baby with a predictable bedtime and naps (usually over 6 months old), move bedtime 15 minutes later every 1-2 nights until you reach the normal time again. For example, if baby’s normal bedtime is 7pm, put baby to bed at 6:15 p.m on Sunday night, Monday night at 6:30 p.m., and so on. On the 4th night (Wednesday night), you should be back to 7:00 p.m.
Do the same thing for naps. Start 45 minutes earlier than normal and move them 15 minutes later each day. For example, if morning nap is at 9:00 a.m. normally, start with 8:15 a.m. on Sunday, 8:30 a.m. on Monday, 8:45 a.m. on Tuesday and then 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday. Do the same thing for the afternoon nap.
If their bedtime and nap-times are not predictable (0–6 months old) simply jump to the new time Sunday night as if you were traveling to a new time zone and use their wake time window (awake time between sleep periods) as your guide. With more hours of darkness, it helps make this transition a little easier on them. If your child wakes up too early, help your child to learn it isn’t time to get up by keeping him or her in their crib in the dark room until normal wake time.
Toddlers- If you have a toddler (12 months and older), put your child to bed 30 minutes earlier than your old bedtime on Sunday. For example, if your child’s normal bedtime is 7:00 p.m., you would put them down at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Do this for 3 nights after the time change and then on the 4th night (Wednesday), put your child to bed at 7:00 p.m.
For naps, put your child to bed for the 1st nap 30 minutes earlier than normal. So if your child naps usually at 9:30 a.m. put him/her down at 9:00 a.m. You would do the same with the afternoon nap if your child takes an afternoon nap.
School Age Children- If you have a child that no longer takes a nap, simply put them to bed 30 minutes earlier than their normal bedtime on Sunday night. Do this for 3 nights, then on the 4th night put your child to bed at the normal time, 7:00 p.m. or whatever is the normal bedtime for your child.
Note for Toddlers/School-aged children: If you have a toddler or an older child who relies on a clock (Here’s my favorite) to know when it’s time to get out of bed, set the clock 30 minutes ahead on Sunday. Allow your child to wake a bit earlier than normal (they will think it is 7:00 according to the clock but it will be 6:30 a.m., new time) and then after 1-2 weeks, change the clock to read the correct time. This will only be temporary as your child adjusts to wake at their usual 7:00 a.m. time in 1-2 weeks.
It may take children and babies a bit more time to fall asleep, but this is to be expected and your child might seem tired earlier in the evening. It usually takes about a week for children and babies to completely adjust to the new time. Some children can take a little longer, but be patient and consistent with your schedule. Hang in there, parents!
Christine Stevens is the owner of Sleep Solutions by Christine. Have questions about your child’s sleep, want to know about different methods to help your child fall asleep easily or how to end bedtime battles with your child? She offers a free 15-minute call with her to learn more about her sleep services and talk about your situation. Contact her today and be sleeping all night soon!
Toddlers are fascinating creatures, aren’t they? Watching them develop into thinking, creative little people is such a fascinating time, and one that parents often wish would last a little longer. Of course, they usually wish that after baby’s grown out of the toddler stage, because along with that creativity and new found intelligence, we usually see a lot of boundary-testing, which can be a frustrating experience.
Have you ever negotiated with your toddler at bedtime?
When I have my consultations with the parents of a toddler, there’s usually some kind of amusing story surrounding bedtime. They tell me, sometimes a little embarrassed, about how their sweet little one gets 3 or 4 stories a night, changes PJs twice, then asks for a glass of milk that they’ll only drink a few sips of, then say goodnight in a very specific, drawn-out way, the endless night wake ups and the back and forth to get them asleep again…and finally, the parents looking at each other wondering how on earth they got to this point.
And it always happens the same way... a little bit at a time.
Toddlers love to test boundaries, and they know that the one thing you want from them at bedtime is for them to go to sleep, so they’ll use that to their advantage. I know it sounds a little diabolical, but it’s their way of seeing where your boundaries lie and how much authority they actually have.
So one night they ask for a glass of milk, and the parents think, “What’s the harm?” The next night, they ask for a glass of milk and an extra story. A week later, they want a glass of milk, an extra story, and three hugs and two goodnight kisses. Little by little, these crazy bedtime routines get established, all according to what the toddler wants.
So there’s a simple solution to this issue:
That’s it. It’s that simple. I won’t kid you, sticking to the rules can be a challenge, because they’re going to ask, test and complain, but if you stick to your guns, they’ll understand sooner rather than later that the bedtime routine is not up for negotiation.
Despite the fact that your child might not agree, toddlers take a great amount of comfort in knowing that you, the parent, are firmly in charge and are confident in your decisions. It gives them a sense of security. If you start allowing them to make the decisions, they actually start to feel like they’re in charge, and it becomes a slippery slope of request after request, and the next thing you know it’s been 2 hours to get your child to bed.
Additionally, a predictable, repetitive bedtime routine actually helps you all sleep better. It signals the brain to start secreting melatonin and signals the body to start relaxing muscles in preparation for a restful, relaxing snooze.
And, finally, you’ll never have to explain to your friends how you have to have to make your little guy pancakes at 10pm in order for him to go to bed.
So if your toddler or child is constantly pushing bedtime, running through the house and you have to spend hours getting them to bed or back to sleep in the middle of the night, give me a call. I’ll show you how to end bedtime battles and give you your evenings back. Schedule a Free Sleep Evaluation and let's chat about your situation. I'm happy to help in any way I can to get you and your child sleeping all night!
Is it teething?
Have you ever heard the story of Catherine O'Leary's Cow?
Back in 1871, the Chicago Tribune reported that the cause of the great Chicago Fire was a cow, Catherine O’Leary’s cow to be precise, kicking over a lantern in the barn while it was being milked.
Unfortunately, the Tribune admitted later on that it had completely fabricated the story, but that didn’t stop people from blaming Catherine and her cow from being widely blamed for one of the greatest disasters in US history.
What’s this got to do with teething, you ask?
Nothing really, except that they’re both victims of some unnecessary scapegoating.
Teething gets blamed for just about every ailment imaginable when it comes to babies. Baby’s got a fever? Probably because she’s teething. Baby’s crying more than normal? I bet it’s sore gums from those teeth coming in. Baby’s got runny poop for a couple of days? Yep, mostly blamed on teething.
Now, all of those things are potentially the result of a tooth coming in, that’s true. But most parents are too quick to blame teething for any and all deviations from the norm as soon as they notice that first tooth appearing below the gum line.
And this is especially true when it comes to sleep.
As parents, we do everything in our power to alleviate discomfort in our babies, and that’s a good thing, obviously. But the natural reaction when baby starts crying in the night is to go in and do whatever we can to soothe them, which can lead to baby being unable to get to sleep without that comfort.
So let’s say your baby has been sleeping great for a couple of weeks, everything’s going well, and then suddenly, you start to see a regression. Baby is suddenly waking up crying two or three times a night. Naturally, you’re going to look for a reason why they’re slipping back into old habits. And if there’s a tooth coming in, that provides a quick and easy answer.
And, of course, it’s not fair to leave baby to cry if they’re actually in pain and not just looking for Mommy to come nurse them back to sleep, so you give in and decide you’ll get back to working to help baby sleep all night once this whole teething thing is over with.
Cut to a year later, and baby is still getting rocked or soothed to sleep every time they wake up, because Hey! there’s probably a tooth coming in!
So... just a couple of things to bear in mind before you give up on your sleep routine due to incoming choppers.
First of all, teething symptoms last for around eight days, so if you’re looking at two weeks of baby crying through the night, it’s either due to some other ailment, or baby has created an association that will bring his favorite person into the room, and she’ll be helping him get back to sleep.
Second, teething symptoms are not nearly as uncomfortable as parents typically imagine they are. We hear about teeth “breaking” or “erupting” through the gums, which conjures up some cringe-worthy images, but nature is not nearly so heartless in this instance. Baby’s gums move out of the way to allow for incoming teeth.
Long story short, according to many experts, teething doesn’t cause a significant amount of pain.
So, once again, I’m not suggesting that you should ignore the teething thing altogether. Just bear in mind that new teeth are not the villain they’re often made out to be. And remember, baby’s going to be a lot happier while going through the process if he’s getting full nights of uninterrupted sleep.
The same thing goes for his parents.
If you’re not sure if it’s teething or you’ve gotten yourself into a bit of a sticky situation and don’t know how to fix it, I’m happy to chat with you. Contact me today and we’ll schedule a free, 15 minute call to chat.
I’m here to make a confession. Yes, I’m a sleep coach but I too have rough nights of sleep.
It doesn’t happen often but I know how you feel. It’s 3am and you’re staring at the clock. You have a few hours before you have to get up for work and you’re worried how you’ll get through the day on so little sleep. You feel like your nights are on repeat…falling asleep but not staying asleep. Or you’re the opposite…you lay in bed and can’t seem to fall asleep no matter what you do.
So what can you do to make your nights more restful? Do these 4 things to help you drift off to sleep faster and feel more rested in the morning.
A few months ago, I was contacted by a mom of a 1-year old boy from Maryland was keeping his parents
awake all night. She told me that every night; she had to CLIMB into her son’s crib at bedtime to cuddle
with him until he fell asleep, then would slowly climb her way out of the crib, hoping he wouldn’t wake
up. This had been going on for months and she was exhausted.
A few days later, I was contacted her friend, who had a 2 year old little boy, telling me that her son was
keeping she and her husband up all night; he wasn’t staying in his crib and the whole family was
suffering because of his nighttime crib jumping. She’d heard from her friend about working with me and
decided she needed my help as well.
Both moms thought they’d tried everything and just wanted to get some sleep.
Their goals were the same…they needed sleep and so did their little ones.
We started out by talking about the boys’ sleep environment and how inviting their rooms were for
sleep. We made sure each room was as dark as possible, using blackout curtains. We made sure each
crib was safe and lowered as far to the floor as each would go to prevent falls. We also made sure to use
white noise machines to help drown out the noise from the rest of the house.
Since each boy had a different situation and amount of sleep needed, each had his own custom sleep
plan for the parents to follow. The parents got to choose which method they wanted, based on their
parenting style, to help their son sleep through the night and get on a good nap schedule.
During each family’s consultation, we talked about things that were going well with their current
situation and areas, such as naptimes and length, that needed to be improvement. We talked about
bedtime routines, when to put the boys to bed, how to handle getting the boys to sleep and how to
handle night wakings. We streamlined each boys’ bedtime routine to around 30 minutes and how to
keep bedtimes early (about 7:30/8pm). Finally we made sure each boy was getting a good nap during
the day and at the right time to balance out their day so they weren’t tired at bedtime.
Within 1 week, much to the surprise of both moms (and the Dads), both boys were putting themselves
to sleep, sleeping through the night and were no longer giving their parents nighttime shenanigans. I
was there to support them throughout the entire process and I’m happy to report that both boys are
still sleeping like angels, months later.
If you’re ready to stop the nighttime shenanigans and get your baby or child sleeping through the night,
schedule a free call with me today to learn how you can get your child sleeping, just like these moms
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