Adjusting to Daylight Saving

This months secret is 'how to adjust your baby's sleep time with daylight saving'. Every year around this time the phone calls pour in with parents panicking about the transition of their baby's sleeps and the dreaded daylight saving. I say dreaded because while it may be nice for some to enjoy the extra daylight hours after work or on weekends, it is often a difficult time for parents.

The extra daylight entices longer activity in the afternoon/evenings leading to later meal times and delayed bedtimes by toddlers and children "because the sun's still up mum!!". This in turn leads to less sleep, overtired children, less "me time" for mums and dad's and all round frustration.

The simple answer in coping with daylight saving is to keep your eye on the clock and prevent your children from being overtired when possible and to keep their bedroom as dark as possible before bedtime!.

For new baby's who have not established a routine in their body clock, life will continue as normal and they will wake for feeds when they are hungry. Daylight saving will only negatively effect the parents of children who are sleeping, feeding and playing at roughly the same time each day and the routine is working well.

In transitioning sleep times I have found that the best approach is a gentle one that takes about 1 week. The morning daylight saving begins in Australia (Sunday 28/10/07) your baby/toddler will wake according to their body clock, which will be 1 hour earlier than the day before (because we 'loose' an hour on the clock). From that Sunday parents can start to stretch the sleep times for the toddler out by 15 minutes per sleep each day. For example: If the usual routine is 6am, 9am, 1pm and 7pm for the day sleeps.

On the first day (sun 28/10) baby will want to sleep at 5am, 8am, 12 md and 6pm. So mum might try for to 5.15am, 8.15am, 12.15pm and 6.15pm. Then the next day 5.30am, 8.30am, 12.30pm and 6.30pm etc. Until over the period of a week the toddlers sleep times have moved to the previous 'normal' time on the clock.

Naturally this whole process will take time to adjust and everyone will feel a little tired and 'out of sorts', even the adults take about a week for their body clocks to adjust. It's surprising how quickly our body clocks adjust when changing times zones across the world. The message is don't panic, have a plan and just go with the flow.

Tip: Plan to gently stretch your baby/toddlers sleep time over a week to the ''normal'' time and keep them so active they are begging to go to bed no matter how light it is outside!

Visit Natalies web site www.sleepandsettle.com.au for details or to book. Alternatively you can call her office on 02 4963 4460 or her mobile 0437 633 953.

Related articles: Baby Cot SafetyGetting Baby to Sleep, and Baby's Safe Sleeping

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