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Helping your child adjust to the Daylight Savings Time Change

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This Sunday all of Alberta will observe the Daylight Savings change where our clocks fall back 1 hour. While many of us enjoy and look forward to that extra hour of sleep, unfortunately the internal clock of our children do not reset that easily. Depending on your child, and how strict their schedule is, you may have to slowly ease them into the time change.

For young children, morning starts at the same time each day, followed by meals and nap time. Be prepared for an early riser for the first few days, no matter how much you want to sleep in. Even though your child is on 'his own' schedule, it is up to you to change and adjust it accordingly. By keeping a strict schedule while you adjust your children to the new time zone, you will help them change over quicker and easier than if you allowed them to eat and sleep when his or her body tells them to. To help your child's energy levels, play him out as much as you can as he gets used to the new sleep schedule. This way he will be tired and ready for bed when you want him to go rather than when he wants to go.

  • Feed your children at the scheduled time for meals. This may be difficult if your children are younger and you may want to ease into the time change by feeding them only half hour adjustments at a time. This way by week's end, everyone is back on schedule.
  • Nap times can be a little more difficult if your children are small. Older children may not have as much of an issue since they do not partake in naps during the day. Using small 15 minute increments you can slowly change nap time so that you do not deal with an unruly toddler or cranky baby for days on end until his 'internal clock' has adjusted.
  • Bedtime can be difficult if there is more daylight than your little one is used to. Be sure to use dark curtains or blackout shades to help them settle back into a bedtime routine.

Remember that children do not understand the concept of 'Spring Ahead' and 'Fall Behind'. You will need to move your schedule around them in order to help adjustments that could last for at least 3 days and up to 7 days in total. Patience is key when helping little ones during the time change.

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