DAYLIGHT SAVING - Pediatrician Dr. Amna Husain Talks Preparing Your Children! | Dr. Amna Husain
Dr. Amna Husain: Hi everyone. My name's Dr. Amna Husain, board-certified pediatrician, board-certified lactation consultant, and mom. And this week, we're actually going to be talking about something very timely, daylight savings time and how to help our babies and our toddlers adjust.
So this year it's March, springtime. And in spring, we spring forward, fall, you fall back. So we're springing forward. Clocks are moving forward, and you would be getting technically one hour less of sleep. If you're a parent to a young child, does that really even make a difference? So we're talking about tips to set you up for success.
First of all, guys, routine is key. And before you even start planning for daylight savings time, or setting your baby up for success or your toddler up for success, you need to have a good bedtime routine. Your baby or toddler's bedtime is actually based more on routine than it is the clock. Certain things like bath time, reading a book, putting on pajamas are all things that your little one should begin to associate with going to bed, or time to go to sleep.
It can also be really helpful to help frame their day. So parents can help guide their little ones through time change by slightly altering the time that they do their bedtime routine. So for example, if 6:30 PM is your child's bedtime on Saturday, but then on Sunday, the clock reads 7:30 PM, it's still their 6:30 PM. Don't feel so controlled by the numbers. You don't need to get there immediately, but just know it will happen. And I'm going to give you a few tips to set you up for success. Now, as we go further, this might get a little confusing as we talk about different times of day, which I'm using for an example or frame of reference, but just try to bear with me, be patient. It can be a little confusing, and you can absolutely substitute your own child's bedtime in every time I say a time.
My first tip is adjust gradually. If your little one is super sensitive to time changes, then start trying to either spring them forward or fall them back a little bit each day, the week of daylight savings. So for example, if typically your little one wakes up at 7:00 AM, after the spring change where the clocks move forward, they'll be waking up at 8:00 AM. So what you could do on day one is put them to bed 15 minutes earlier, and hope that they sleep 15 minutes less. Then on day two, you could put them to bed 30 minutes earlier and hope that they sleep 30 minutes less. So they might be waking up at 7:30 AM. And slowly, gradually, your shift your way there. Hopefully, by the time daylight savings time ends, that if you've given yourself enough time to plan ahead, your little one will be waking up at their corrected 7:00 AM. Hopefully. This gets a little confusing, I know, with the times.
So on that note, my second tip is anticipate early risings. Anytime we might be moving them up a little bit in sleep, you would expect them probably to sleep a little less, but children can be unpredictable. And sometimes actually shifting up bedtimes can actually cause them to sleep more. Even by shifting around sleep patterns a little bit, it can throw things off completely. Daylight savings time can be so scary and venturing into the unknown for parents who are really used to their little ones and their routines.
So here's my tip for you. If your little one does wake early, just let them hang, hang in their crib or in their bedroom, in a safe place. If they're awake, let them be there. As long as they're safe, you don't have to necessarily rush in and start the day. Actually, that independent time can be really helpful for them. So, I mean, granted, let's hope that they're not upset or crying, but if they're hanging there, entertaining themselves, or quiet, you don't absolutely have to rush in if they're awake.
On that note, one thing you could do is make sure that you have good curtains to block out the sunlight if it is springing forward and as more daylight starts to spill into their room. Maybe thinking too much ahead is stressing you out. Totally okay. You could also just shorten this whole adjustment period and split it between Sunday and Monday nights. So let's say, for example, it's 7:45 PM and your little one's just not asleep. Push their bedtime back a little bit further, maybe to 8:15. And then slowly, the next day, start shortening a little bit more until you get to that 7:45 PM bedtime. In the fall, you can use the reverse concept that you did in the spring.
We've talked a lot about different methods, ways to move up the bedtime gradually, split the difference and do it maybe over two days, try and give them some independent time, not rushing in to get them, making sure you're blocking out the light. But you could do all of these things and still have difficulties.
So my next tip is be sympathetic. Know that with all these changes, you can expect some temper tantrums, some difficult moods. I have a three-year-old and we have a lot of emotional lability right now on a good day. So I'm kind of anticipating this. Try your best to be sympathetic. Have that cup of coffee in the morning. Be patient with yourself too.
So my last piece of advice for what you could do to set yourself up for success in daylight savings time is actually you might end up doing nothing and just seeing where it gets you. And I definitely think it's more helpful if you have a young child, like an infant, who is maybe more sensitive to time changes to try to adjust your schedules. But maybe you have a toddler, or like me, you have a three-year-old and you kind of just want to wing it and see what happens. Then that's totally okay to stick to their normal schedule. And eventually they will adjust. Our bodies have a way of adjusting our circadian rhythms. And it's much easier as your child gets older and more verbal to really be able to hear what their needs are and be able to anticipate their moods.
When that happens, I would not fall into the trap of letting them catch up on their naps. Instead, make them stick to their routine. So if they typically wake up at 3:00 PM from their afternoon nap, then wake them up at 3:00 PM, even if they were a little bit more tired or sluggish during the day. Because you want them to really carry that fatigue, if you will, into the evening so that they're ready to go to bed at the appropriate time that you'd like them to with the daylight savings change.
I hope those were helpful. And as you know, we, as adults, can get super sluggish and feel off with daylight savings time changes. So anticipate the same from your child as well. Be patient, be sympathetic, be understanding and know that these effects are short-lived and that things should likely adjust back to normal within a week, give or take even a few days. Usually, these periods blow over very easily. It's just mostly for parents, it can be a little nerve-wracking, especially if you have a young, young child.
If this video was helpful, please give it a thumbs up. Make sure you leave a comment below so I have an idea of what you're doing for your little one for daylight savings time change. Subscribe to this channel if you like it. And there'll be new videos every Monday.