There’s a lot to love about the fall. Fresh air. Kids back in school. Cozy sweaters. Pumpkin spiced everything. Yet, as the leaves start crunching underfoot, you’ll find parents everywhere silently cursing this time of year. Why? Because of the dreaded time change.
Just as it does in spring, the daylight saving time in fall brings about interrupted sleep schedules and a period of adjustment. It’s rarely fun – but, eventually, our body clocks will adjust on their own. In the meantime, here are a few ways you can help get your entire family back on track.
If you already have one, keep practicing the same sleep routine you normally do to help prepare your child for sleep. The familiarity is comforting and will help your child know that sleep is coming next. If you don’t have one – start practicing one! Children thrive off of routine and a consistent, calming bedtime routine can be a great way to help kids drift off. Give yourself 30 minutes before your child’s set bedtime to allow enough time to focus on calming activities that will help make your child sleepy. You can try sleep props like white noise machines, or the tried-and true method of story time. Yoga and meditation are both excellent ways to relax your child before bed, too. This is also a great opportunity to get some attachment time in with your little one.
Remove phones, tablets and other tech and electronics from your night table (and your kids’ rooms) before bed. Electronics right before bedtime makes it more difficult to fall asleep and results in less restorative sleep. You don’t need anything that’s going to mess up your sleep schedules any further at this time – so set some tech boundaries and limits at bedtime.
If your little one starts waking up earlier than usual during the time change, try your best not to start the day at this new time. If your baby is in a crib, let them hang out for a while! A little quiet time won’t hurt – and they may just fall back asleep for a bit. As tempting as it may be, try not to start new habits that may be hard to break – like feeding or rocking your back to sleep.
We parents need to protect our sleep just like our kids. There’s actually a higher occurrence of reported traffic accidents after time changes – so now is the time to make sure you’re getting enough rest as well. Practice the same habits you preach to your kids.
Nobody can get a great night’s sleep if your mattress isn’t meeting your needs! The proper support and comfort are essential to help you get the most out of your sleep. If your mattress is older than 7 years, you may want to start looking into a new one. Especially if you find your current one is keeping you up at night. Again, you don’t need anything else interrupting you or your family’s sleep on top of the time change!
My best advice is to just hang in there. The shift in this new schedule normally takes a week or two for everyone to adapt to. And above all else, remember my two favourite words: persistence and consistency.
I provide free child and family sleep support on my Facebook page. I invite you to join our sleep community as I work towards Good Night Sleep Site's mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site and visit me on Instagram and Twitter. Join our movement and #BringBackBedtime.