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Parents’ Guide to Surviving Daylight Savings Time

Sleepy ChildTonight is daylight savings time — a bi-annual tradition where everyone’s sleep gets screwed up for no good reason.

It’s inconvenient, sure, but it’s also downright dangerous. Did you know that there’s an 8% increase in traffic accidents the day after daylight savings time? In other words, it’s not an exaggeration to say that this outdated tradition is endangering people’s lives.

(Can you tell I’m NOT a fan?!)

Nevertheless, we all have to put up with it, so here’s my very best advice to minimize the disruption for you and your children…

Step 1: Ignore it

The clocks “officially” change in the middle of the night tonight. Ignore this completely. Do NOT change your clocks before going to bed tonight.

That way, when you or your child wake up at your usual times, you won’t “freak out” that it’s an hour earlier than normal.

Step 2: Set your clocks back in the morning

After you wake up, you can go around the house and change the clocks. If you usually go to church on Sundays, you’ll get an extra hour before you have to start getting ready!

Step 3: Split the difference

After you’ve set your clocks back, move all nap times and bedtimes backwards exactly 30 minutes.

This means that if your baby went down for a nap at 11 a.m. BEFORE the time change, today’s nap time should be 10:30.

This will feel like 11:30 for your child, so don’t be surprised if he seems a little grumpy!

Same thing for afternoon naps and bedtime. If he usually went to bed for the night at 8 p.m., tonight’s bedtime should be 7:30.

If you can, do this until Wednesday, which will give your child’s body 4 days to adjust to the time shift. On Thursday, move all nap times and bedtimes to their regularly scheduled times.

While this isn’t a perfect system, it’s the best one I’ve been able to come up with during my 10 years as a child sleep professional.

If any of this is unclear, or if you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the ‘Comments’ section of this page.

And if you’re struggling with any other aspects of your child’s sleep, make sure to check out The Sleep Sense Program, which will show you the fastest, easiest way to get your child sleeping straight through the night!

The Sleep Sense Program

Hope this helps, and sleep well!

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Dana’s Sleep Blog

Straight talk about sleep, parenting,
babies, toddlers, relationships… and
just about anything else!
My blog is a great place to find opinions, advice, the occasional rant, and some great videos about sleep.

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