By Kelly Martin, Infant & Child Sleep Consultant

For many of us, twice a year our clocks move forward and back again. The transition either takes away an hour of precious sleep or gives back an additional hour to hit the snooze button. As a parent, catching up on our sleep is always a bonus, but having a young child trying to adjust to a new sleep pattern can come with challenges.

Early risers can be one of the trickiest sleep hurdles to tackle during a daylight savings transition, however sleep challenges can come at any time. Yet, this clock change doesn’t mean the beginning of early rising but it gives parents an opportunity to work on early rising once and for all as an extra hour of persistence means re-setting bedtime and sleep patterns.

How to start resetting bedtime

Before forming an approach, it’s important for parents to understand how their child’s circadian rhythm works. The circadian rhythm is our body’s natural sleep clock which is set by food, light, and social interaction. Our body’s sleep clock can be shifted based on moving around dinner time, when the sun going down, or setting up for bedtime.

Naturally, we will base this around the time the clock reads. And as our phones and other electronics tend to automatically change, all we need to do as parents is follow the clock’s lead.

Now that we understand how the circadian rhythm of our body works, we can form a plan for this sleep transition. There are two approaches when forming a plan to sleep transitions: Proactive and reactive. And one thing is for certain, using a smart baby monitor during either of these transition plans can improve a parent’s understanding of their little one’s sleep trends.

Being proactive about re-setting sleep habits can help everyone get more shut-eye.

Proactive approach to sleep patterns

A proactive plan starts roughly a week prior to the time change. It allows parents to progressively shift their child’s bedtime routine by 15 minutes every two days. This means every step in their routine happens slightly later than normal.

The aim of the game is to start at the beginning of the day and push meals times and nap time by 15 minutes. For instance, if a child’s day runs between the hours of 6:00am and 6:00pm, by moving their routine out by a couple of minutes every couple of days – the goal is for them to be waking up at 7:00am and going to bed at 7:00pm.

Then, when the clocks “switch” back, it allows for parents and their bub to have their normal routine of a 6:00 am start.

Reactive approach to re-setting bedtime

Not every parent has the luxury of transitioning their child a week prior to the end of daylight savings. After all, life gets in the way when dealing with a toddler! So, how does a reactive plan work and is it just as effective as a proactive approach?

The answer is yes. Even if a parent starts transitioning their little one’s schedule a week prior and they do not get to an hour out, they can continue to do so beyond when the clocks turn. As such, a reactive approach has the same concept as a proactive plan, but the only difference is the parent is transitioning their child when the clocks have already turned back.

Whether it’s a proactive or reactive plan, there is a solution to providing parents with peace of mind and it comes down to the Achilles’ heel of their child’s sleep – consistency.

Consistency plays a large part in adjusting a bub’s sleep. As a parent, we want to guide our little one to sleep rather than force new sleep patterns. Using a device like Owlet’s Smart Sock can give parents a better understanding of their child’s sleep patterns as it tracks sleep trends, meaning you can view the total number of hours slept, the number of times bub woke up, and their overall sleep quality.

Transitioning a child’s sleep patterns, whether it’s because of day light savings or not, as parents, we no longer want to think of any sleep transition as the “old time” and the “new time.” With persistence and a plan, parents will be able to smoothly shift their child’s routine leaving them more confident than ever.