6 Tips for Tackling the Time Change With a Toddler

Mother wakes up young daughter in the morning with a kiss.

As if getting toddlers into a good sleep routine wasn’t hard enough, the end of Daylight Savings Time can add an extra element to the challenge of getting them to bed each night.

The following tips may help your toddler (and you) through the time change:

  • 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 their normal bedtime the first few days after the time change. They 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 them in the dark. An earlier sunrise may wake your little one up sooner than they would like. Use room-darkening shades, curtains or blinds to keep the sunshine out while they sleep.
  • Respond to early risers. If your child keeps waking early, try to explain that it’s too early to start the day. Encourage them 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. They’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.

If your toddler continues to struggle with sleep after the time change, or if you have other health concerns, find a Baptist Health provider near you to help.

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