Next month, the clocks will turn back by an hour for daylight saving time. Cue the usual exhaustion. But UC Davis pediatrician Lena van der List offers four tips for families to help them ease into this new routine. Planning ahead is key, she said.
- Set your child’s alarm 10 minutes later each morning, a week before the time change. “If your toddler wakes up before the alarm, just sit with them in their darkened room until it is time to get up. Then turn on the lights and start your day,” van der List said.
- Alternatively, move your child’s bedtime so it is 10 minutes later each day, starting one week before the time change. By doing this a little each day, it may help lessen the drastic one-hour change that will happen on Nov. 1.
- Some families prefer to extend wake times in between naps (by about 10 minutes to prevent an overtired or cranky toddler) that can help prepare for the "fall back" of the bedtime.
- While a melatonin supplement can be helpful, you should discuss this with your child’s pediatrician before starting any new supplement. “A better method may be to augment your natural melatonin,” said van der List. “Get outside when it is light out. Turn off all screens at least an hour before bed, and keep to a regular nighttime routine: brush, book and bed.”