Help Babies + Toddlers adjust to Daylight Savings
Worried that daylight savings will throw out your routine? Check out our tips to help your little one adjust!
While newborn babies may not be affected by the beginning or end of daylight savings, older babies and toddlers can struggle with this change of the clocks and brighter mornings. There are several factors as to why this small change affects them - the disruption of their body clock and whether it's daylight or dark outside when they are trying to sleep.
October marks the beginning of daylight savings in Australia, and its ends in April. Most parents dread the thought of the clocks going forward or back, knowing they will have a grumpy little learner at bedtime. Fear not, you can implement a few simple changes to ensure little disruption to your child's routine and make bedtime a breeze!
Plan and adjust slowly
Significant changes can be a disaster for little ones, so planning and adjusting their routine slowly is the way to go. To succeed with the adjustment in time with daylight savings is to make the adjustments gradually. Starting to alter your little learner's bedtime a few days before the beginning or end of daylight savings in 15-minute increments each day will make the process smooth for everyone.
After the clocks move back an hour, a child who was usually ready for bed at 7 pm would now be ready at 6 pm. While that may not be a big adjustment in your household, your little one waking up an hour earlier may be!
With the change to daylight savings, the sun coming up earlier can confuse little learners as they associate the sun coming up with time to get up! Ensure your child's room has good quality blinds (black out if possible); this will assist in the routine adjustment when they have a calm and dark bedroom. Sleep clocks can also help toddlers know when to get up, and these clocks light up when it's time to rise and shine!
Change the Bedtime Routine
To transition well through the end of daylight savings, start five days before. Assuming your child goes to bed at 7 pm, look at our example below on how to slowly transition them to their new bedtime.
White noise is a fabulous way to block out inside or outside noise while they are asleep and gives your little learner a definite cue that it's still sleep time. White noise, which has a constant Shhhhh noise, can assist babies and toddlers in getting settled and sleeping. Brown noise is also becoming popular in recent years - it contains all frequencies, like white noise, but plays the low frequencies at a louder level and the high frequencies on a softer level. This has been shown to calm babies and toddlers as it mimics the mother's womb.
Noise tools like this can also help mask outside and inside noise, like the TV or noisy siblings. There are so many great apps that you can use on your phone or on a tablet in their room to disguise these background sounds. Some of the best white noise apps include ‘white noise baby’, ‘Sleepstream’ and 'Baby Sleep', to name a few.
These apps mimic the sounds of washing machines, rain, soft wind and many other white noises, which will be a godsend at bedtime.
A Few Key Tips to Remember
- As you adjust your child's new schedule, if they want to sleep a little later, allow them to.
- Adjust your child's routine from the first feed by 15 minutes. If your child cannot wait 15 minutes in the morning for their first feed, slowly adjust the routine by 15 minutes throughout the day.
- Remember to put your clocks back on Saturday night at the end of daylight savings (April 2nd 2023) if they don't adjust automatically.
- If your child has a sleep clock which needs adjusting, ensure you do this to mimic the new schedule.
- Remember, white noise can help.
- Daylight savings is the perfect time to check your smoke detector batteries!
Don’t let this adjustment in daylight savings scare and overwhelm you. Enjoy the transition with your little one by moving slowly through the change and adjusting the day slowly and calmly over five consecutive days.