As if getting toddlers into a good sleep routine wasn’t hard enough, the end of daylight-saving time can add an extra element to the challenge of getting them to bed each night. The following tips may help:
- Stay on schedule. That means getting your little one to wake, eat, play, nap and go to bed at the usual times according to what the clock says. Avoid the temptation to allow your child to stay up past his normal bedtime the first few days after the time change. He may be grumpy for a while, but the more you stick to your routines; the faster your toddler will adjust to a time change.
- Send sleep signals. As adults, we all have routines that we do prior to bed; brush our teeth, put on pajamas, read, etc. So it’s also important to have a consistent routine for your toddlers prior to them going to sleep as well. In addition to a bedtime routine, you should also have a mini nap routine (about 5 minutes) where you signal to your toddler that it’s almost nap time. This could be something as simple as closing the blinds, changing a diaper and reading a couple of stories.
- Keep him in the dark. An earlier sunrise may wake your little one up sooner than he would like. Use room-darkening shades, curtains or blinds to keep the sunshine out while he sleeps.
- Respond to early risers. If your child keeps waking early, try to get him to understand that it’s too early to start the day. Encourage him to go back to sleep or to stay in bed doing a quiet activity.
- See the light. Expose your child to plenty of light, especially in the morning, to help their internal clock adjust to the new time.
- Play and stay active during the day. Keep your toddler active during the day. He’ll burn energy and may fall asleep more easily at the new bedtime.
Quick fact: Toddlers between ages 1 and 3 generally require 12-14 hours of sleep a day, including nighttime sleep and naps.