In case you haven't already marked your calendar, Daylight Saving Time ends this coming Sunday. While "springing forward" into Daylight Saving Time in March means losing an hour of sleep, "falling back" in November marks a night when you get to turn your clocks back an hour and get extra sleep. But parents know that it can't be that easy.
For babies and young kids, "falling back" still comes with its challenges -- they don't always take advantage of that extra hour of sleep and may end up waking up early. And the end of Daylight Saving Time means less daylight, which can often leave kids feeling less energized. But fear not! There are ways to prepare for the change.
Here are five tips to help parents ease the transition out of Daylight Saving Time:
1. Gradually adjust their sleep schedules.
Even a one hour time change can affect a baby's circadian rhythm, so it's best to take a few days to slowly change his or her sleep schedule, pediatric neurologist and president of the Canadian Sleep Society Shelly Weiss told Today's Parent. "So on day one, put the baby to bed a little later than usual. For example, if bedtime is usually 7 p.m., try for 7:15, and let him sleep 15 minutes longer, if you can. Then on day two put him to bed at 7:30, and let him sleep 30 minutes longer, etc., until you get to the time change.”
2. Gradually adjust meal times as well.
"Moving the sleep schedule up also means changing those meal times," child sleep consultant Katie Kovaleski wrote on Every Thing For Dads. Kovaleski also recommends gradually "moving every piece of their schedule forward" if possible.
3. Try to get extra light during the day.
Losing daylight can make kids feel less energized. Sleep consultant Jenn Kelner, told WJBF, "Expose your child to plenty of light on Sunday, especially in the morning, to help their internal clock adjust to the new time."
4. Prepare their sleeping environment.
Falling back and receiving more light in the morning may turn kids into early risers. But adjusting their sleeping environments can help prevent that. Writing for New York Metro Parents, family sleep expert Carolina Romanyuk recommends buying shades that will "keep the room nice and dark" and "White noise to keep out any sounds that may startle or awaken your little one."
5. Don't start the day when your child wakes up.
Pediatric sleep consultant Susie Parker tells Apartment Therapy, "If your baby wakes before 6 a.m. (new time), hold off on going to their room. Let them hang out until 6 or you may inadvertently set a very early new wake-up time."