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2/27/24 blog post

4 tips to prepare your kiddo for the upcoming time change

The time change is notorious for messing with everyone’s sleep schedule, but it really messes with our kiddos because they can’t adjust to a new schedule in just one night.

The time change can cause kids to be cranky because their sleep cycle will be slightly “off” for a little bit of time. To help prepare for the upcoming time change, Khalid Safi, MD, chief of sleep medicine at Dayton Children’s Hospital, is providing tips for parents to get their kiddo ready for the extra hour.

4 tips to prepare for the time change

  1. Start the transition early.
    • For falling back an hour, start putting your little one to bed 10 to 15 minutes later every night starting a week before the time change.
    • For springing forward an hour, starting putting your little one to bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier every night starting a week before the time change. 
    • The extra 10-15 minutes each night will get them prepared for the hour difference they will have the night of the time change.
  2. Maintain routines. Even though you’re moving your sleep schedule 10-15 minutes, it’s important to maintain your normal bedtime routine. Whether it’s a bath before bed, reading a book together, or snuggling, just make sure that your child’s routine remains intact.
  3. Use “okay to wake” systems. Okay to wake alarm clocks and night lights provide your child with a time when it’s okay to wake up or come out of their room. Start setting the time 10-15 min later each day for a week leading up to the time change.
  4. Limit screen time before bed. Children should stop using electronics at least 30 minutes before their bedtime routine starts. Electronics mess with the brains ability to produce melatonin which can make falling asleep harder.

By following these four steps your child should adjust to the time change within a week or so. If your child is taking longer than that, talk with their pediatrician about possible seeing a pediatric sleep specialist.

To learn more about sleep medicine at Dayton Children’s, or to schedule an appointment online click here.

doctor Khalid Safi
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Khalid Safi, MD

division chief sleep medicine
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