We spend a lot of time talking about child sleep over here, but it’s important for adults to pay attention to their sleep habits as well. Here are five things you can do tonight to get more sleep! [Read more…]
Living in a small home or an old home with thin walls can make containing noise a challenge. Maybe you have young kids, a feisty dog, a musician in the house, or a baby that needs a nap twice a day. Whatever the case, achieving peace and quiet may be the key to everyone’s sanity, especially for anyone who works from home. Here are a few tricks to get some more sleep, have a productive work day, set up a more soundproof home, and keep your family from getting cranky! [Read more…]
We spring forward on March 8 at 2:00 am. During this time change, we technically lose an hour of sleep, but for families of little ones, it’s mind over matter because our children will be getting up an hour later on the clock. If you’re a parent, this is a win! Time changes can cause parents to stress that it will cause havoc on their child’s sleep, and that doesn’t have to be the case if you keep some basic tips and options in mind.
Option #1- Do nothing!
This time change is easier, so preparation ahead of time is not necessary for most babies. Switch to the new time and your baby (and you) will adjust within a few days. Expose your child to more bright light in the morning and begin to wind down your home with lower light in the evening. That will help induce drowsiness and allow your child to fall asleep easily.
Option #2- Move earlier by 15 minute increments every day after the time change.
Your baby who normally wakes at 7 will wake at 8. A nap that normally occurs at 9 would be at 10 on the first day. Make it 9:45 the next day, then 9:30, then 9:15, then 9:00. Some babies can shift in half hour increments to make the switch faster.
Option #3-Shift everything to the new time and be on a later schedule
This option sounds good on paper, but carrying it out can be difficult. Parents that have early risers or children that go to bed very early often want to try this, but it only works if you shift all naps, meals, and activities to be an hour later as well. If there are things that cannot be controlled to be an hour later (wake up time due to going to daycare or naps that are daycare regulated) this option often backfires and can lead to short naps and early waking.
Keep it dark and noisy
Use blackout shades and white noise to encourage deeper and longer sleep at night. As the sun sets later, there may be light in your child’s bedroom which can make it difficult to fall asleep. Making the room darker can help your child fall asleep even if the sun sets at 9pm and it will also help them stay asleep when the sun rises at 5 am! White noise can also keep the outside spring and summer noises from causing your child to stir at these early hours.
Stick to what works
Keep your child’s sleep routine and schedule as consistent as possible during the time change and your child will remain well rested. Parents should also give themselves the opportunity to follow a good sleep routine to maintain their own sleep quality. This time change isn’t as bad as falling back, so hopefully you will enjoy a few days of “sleeping in.”
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On November 2, we will turn the clocks back one hour to mark the end of Daylight Saving Time. Parents across America will all of a sudden be a little more tired. Why? While people without children will be basking in one extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning (or staying out one hour later—oh how those days are a distant memory!), children will be waking up at their regularly scheduled times, but those times will have shifted earlier. For some with early risers already, this really hurts. The time change isn’t fun, but there are a few things you can do to help your child and make it a little easier on your family.
Option #1: Get Ready Ahead of Time
If you were a Girl Scout, you might go with this option, and I highly recommend it if you have a child that is very sleep sensitive (very schedule oriented, goes to sleep easily within a certain window, but has a hard time when things are off track) or if your child is already an early riser. Begin getting ready for the time change about 4-5 days before November 2. That means, on Wednesday before the time change, put your child down for naps and for bed 15 minutes later. On Thursday, go another 15 minutes from that. On Friday, go another 15 minutes later (this will give you extra trick or treating time since it’s Halloween). On Saturday, do another 15 minutes and voila! You’ve gradually shifted an hour earlier, so when you turn the clocks back that night, you’ll be on the new time already.
Option #2 Make Daylight Saving Time on Saturday
I don’t know who decided that shifting times on Saturday night was a good idea, but I often think that it would be so much easier if we had the entire weekend to recover. If you are organized and can keep track of time well, consider turning your clocks back Friday night/Saturday morning and shift to the new time over the weekend. You could prepare ahead of time by shifting things earlier a few days beforehand or just go cold turkey to the new times. Whatever you decide to do, it will be easier to go with the flow on Saturday and Sunday instead of just on Sunday. Don’t forget that the rest of the country isn’t shifting times, so if you have appointments, baseball games, or parties to attend, they would still be on the old time.
Option #3 Just wait and go with the flow
You don’t have to prepare for the time change ahead of time and you can just wait until Saturday night, turn your clocks back and deal with an earlier morning. If your child uses a tot clock, you could compromise and turn it back 30 minutes Saturday night and 30 more minutes the next night and make the wake time a little less painful (assuming your child will stay in their room until the light changes). For naps you would nap at the new regular time (or if they are having a hard time staying awake, go 30 minutes earlier than normal). Do the same with bedtime in case the nap is short. This will keep your child from becoming overtired. Younger babies can have a lot of trouble with this, so watch for sleepy cues and put them down earlier if necessary.
The Effects of the Time Change
Most children adjust to the time change within in a few days to a week. If your child gets “stuck” it may be a result of giving in to those early wakings and starting your day too early, or it could also be that your child is overtired. Encourage your child to stay in his room until it is time to wake up. Be sure to pay attention to your child’s nap and nighttime sleep routine, and be consistent. This is a great time of year to evaluate what you are doing and make any necessary changes to improve your child’s sleep. Falling back and losing an hour of sleep is never fun, but by following some of these suggestions, you should be able to be back on track in no time!
Written by Lori Strong, Certified Sleep Consultant and Owner of Strong Little Sleepers
Lori is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant through and Certified Happiest Baby Educator. She is the founder and owner of Strong Little Sleepers, which was started on the idea that all families need and deserve to get a good night’s sleep. Lori was the first certified child sleep consultant in Austin, Texas and was honored as Best Sleep Expert in the 2013 Austin Birth Awards. She is also a member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants. Lori combines her experience as an educator and a parent to offer customized sleep plans and support to families with children ages 0-6 across the country.
For more information, please visit www.stronglittlesleepers.com.
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