Getting sleep patterns back on track

Sleep, remember that wonderful thing we took for granted before we had kids?! And then once we get them on a schedule… There’s always something… Check out these tips from the “Sleepy Planet” girls, Jill and Jen, to get your kids back on their normal sleep schedule for daylight savings time.

They say:

1. Put your child to sleep at his normal bedtime on Saturday night.

2. Your child will likely wake up 1 hour earlier by the new clock than he normally does, say at 5:00 AM (which still feels to him like 6:00 AM). Psychologically, it can be painful to see 5:00 AM on your clock and deal with a child who’s bright and perky. There’s not a lot you can do about his energy level on this first morning, so just get up with him.

3. If your child still naps, stretch him as much as you can toward his normal first nap time (according to the current clock). So, if your child wakes at 5:00 AM (according to the current clock), his body will want to nap 1 hour earlier than normal. Don’t let him! Instead, do whatever it takes to keep him awake. Give him a bath or do the Hokey Pokey around the house to keep him up as close to his normal first nap time as possible, then follow his usual schedule thereafter. Don’t let him nap too long, as doing so may continue to cause early morning wakings.

If your child has outgrown napping, you still need to allow him to wake up at the early new time once the clocks have changed (bummer). However, spend your day eating and doing activities according to the usual time (even thought the clock has changed). Do your best to keep him up all the way to his regular bedtime at night, by the new clock (or as close as you can get without breaking him). Yes, he’ll be a bit cranky in the evening temporarily, but after a few days, he’ll adjust!

Jennifer Waldburger, LCSW, and Jill Spivack, LCSW are co-founders of Sleepy Planet, a company that offers collaborative consultation, education, parenting groups, counseling, and products to parents of children birth to five years. Addressing the big picture of family life – including sleep, feeding, child development, sibling issues, marriage and refining individual parenting philosophy and style – Sleepy Planet helps parents create a balanced, fulfilling family experience. Jennifer and Jill, who are co-creators of the award-winning book and DVD The Sleepeasy Solution, have been featured in a wide variety of media, including Good Morning America, The Today Show, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Parenting, and Parents. For more information, please visit www.sleepyplanet.com.

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