Spring Forward! How to Change Your Kids' Sleep Schedules with Ease

Dad holding daughter toddler

This Sunday, March 11 (2:00 a.m. to be precise) marks the beginning of daylight saving time, when the days start to last longer with more sunshine hours as spring returns!

We adults can manage the time change relatively easily—but younger children often need more time to adjust, especially when it comes to their sleep schedules. Here are ways you can help your toddler “spring forward” a little easier.

Slowly change their bed time.

Many experts recommend gradually adjusting a young child’s schedule before the time change hits. Several days or even a week before you turn the clock forward, try putting your child to bed about 15 minutes earlier each night, or every couple of nights, to minimize the abruptness of the change. You should also wake him up 15 minutes earlier (if you can).

Adjust meal times and nap times, too.

If your family keeps a structured routine, apply the change to meal times and nap times, too. If your meal time is 6:00, you’ll want to start at 5:45. The idea is to gradually set the whole day a bit earlier so the loss of an hour won't be such a shock to your child's system (and yours, too).

Prepare for that extra light in the evenings.

With an extra hour of sunshine, it's likely that the kids' bedrooms may be much brighter than usual. To get your kids to fall asleep through it, hang black-out curtains or other light blockers that keep the sun from shining right on your little one’s eyes.

Soak up the abundance of sun during the day.

After a few months of very little sunshine, things are about to start changing! Boost your family's vitamin D levels (and subsequently their moods, as well), by getting them outside and staying active as much as possible. Spring's on its way...time to start celebrating!

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