Preventing “Fall Back” Setbacks in Children’s Sleep

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What’s not to love about an extra hour of sleep? Just ask any parent and they’ll tell you how that one little hour that gets added every fall as part of Daylight Savings Time can wreak havoc on their children’s routines.

According to Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., sleep expert and professor of psychology at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, there’s plenty that parents can do to be proactive before we “fall back” on November 3.

Mindell suggests a little planning. “Gradually move your child’s bedtime back 15 minutes each night starting the Thursday before the time change,” she says. “This begins to reset their clocks so that by Saturday, it doesn’t feel like they’re being put to bed a whole hour earlier than usual.”

She also suggests keeping bedtime routines the same as consistency is key.

And it’s equally important to keep the time child gets up in the morning the same, Mindell warns.

“Be sure to wake children according to their normal schedule. Don’t let them sleep in.”

Lastly, Mindell recommends patience. “The best thing that parents can do is stick to their child’s usual schedule and allow their child time to adjust, which can take up to a week.”

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