Helping Your Kids Spring Forward

On March 8, 2020, most of the U.S. population will move their clocks forward one hour, which means losing one hour of sleep. This adjustment can be difficult for kids’ sleep schedules.

Dr. Caroline Okorie, a pediatric sleep specialist at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, shares her tips for easing the transition for your kids.

Go slowly. If your child tends to be very sensitive to time changes, consider adjusting his schedule gradually, starting a few days before the day of the change. Move your child’s bedtime 15 to 30 minutes earlier each night until you reach the desired new bedtime. You can also start to wake your child 15 to 30 minutes earlier each day. And for young kids, if possible, you can even start to shift the entire daytime routine, including naps and meals.

Resist the urge to sleep in. If not making the gradual change, you can wake your child up one hour earlier the day before (Saturday, March 7), or wake her up at the new time on the day of the change (Sunday, March 8). Just know that, like adults, your child may take about a week to feel fully adjusted to the new time. It is tempting to let her sleep in, but this may make it harder for her to wake up for school the following Monday. Getting your child out of bed at the new time will help ensure that she is tired enough to sleep at the normal time that night.

Create a sleep-friendly environment. It’s going to be lighter at bedtime, and sometimes children may struggle to go to bed because the sun is still up. Consider darkening the room around bedtime using blackout blinds or sheets. Or for older children, consider an eye mask. With the earlier light in the mornings, sometimes sounds around the neighborhood start a little earlier. Consider using a white-noise machine to help block out that disruptive noise.

If your child’s sleep problems last longer than spring flowers, consider seeing Dr. Okorie or another sleep specialist at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. Call (844) 724-4140 to make an appointment.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)