(KSNF/KODE) — Daylight saving time (DST) is always an adjustment, especially for those most sensitive to routine changes.
Here are three ways to help your kids adjust to the time change this year:
1. Gradually adjust bedtime routines
This may not be the best time to introduce a drastic schedule change or routine change. Children rely on consistency in the world around them to feel secure and safe, therefore contributing to their overall well-being.
According to The Sleep Foundation, those who follow bedtime routines are more likely to go to sleep earlier, take less time falling asleep, sleep longer, and wake up less during the night. Make small changes to routine times every day for an overall smooth adjustment. A few days before DST, you can gently push bedtime 10-15 minutes earlier than usual and adjust the rest of your routine to reflect that.
2. Encourage natural circadian rhythm
Circadian rhythm is a 24-hour internal clock that does many things but is famously known for directing the natural sleep/wake cycle of humans. At night, encourage low lighting and darkness to reflect the natural sleep/wake cycle. Limit screentime and harsh artificial lights.
You can encourage a natural rhythm by exposing your young ones to sunlight first thing when they wake up. You can do this by throwing open the curtains to let sunlight in, eating breakfast outside, or going on a morning walk.
3. Add sweet talk to the bedtime routine
According to Dr. Harvey Karp, the bestselling author of Happiest Baby on the Block & Happiest Toddler on the Block, bedtime sweet talk ends the day on a positive, loving, and grateful note that associates bedtime with a positive experience in your child’s mind.
Bedtime sweet talk can look different for different kiddos, but essentially it’s being close to your little one. You can softly recount the day and positive experiences, mention things to look forward to in the day ahead, and talk about things or people you love and are grateful for.
Dr. Karp says in his blog here, “Toddler bedtime sweet talk is a huge confidence boost that helps your tot wake up the next morning ready for anything. It’s a wonderful way for parents to bond with their little ones. On top of that, it makes bedtime something your toddler looks forward to … instead of something to avoid at all cost!”
A little patience and sympathy for your kids during this transition will get them well-adjusted and snoozin’ in no time.