Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sleep Tips for Daylight Savings this Sunday Nov 7

Sleep Tips for Daylight Savings Time
Turn Clocks Back this Sunday, Nov 7

Here's how to ensure the time shift goes as smoothly as possible:
1. Put your child to sleep as his normal bedtime on Saturday night.                                         

2. Your child will likely wake up 1 hour earlier by the new clock than he normally does, say at 5:00 AM (which still feels to him like 6:00 AM).  Psychologically, it can be painful to see 5:00 AM on your clock and deal with a child who's bright and perky.  There's not a lot you can do about his energy level on this first morning, so just get up with him.

3. If your child still naps, stretch him as much as you can toward his normal first nap time (according to the current clock).  So, if your child wakes at 5:00 AM (according to the current clock), his body will want to nap 1 hour earlier than normal.  Don't let him!

Instead, do everything to keep him awake.  Give him a bath or do the Hokey Pokey around the house to keep him up as close to his normal first nap time as possible, then follow his usual schedule thereafter.  Don't let him nap too long, as doing so may continue to cause early morning wakings.

If your child has outgrown napping, you still need to allow him to wake up at the early new time once the clocks have changed (bummer).  However, spend your day eating and doing activities according to the usual time (even thought the clock has changed).  Do your best to keep him up all the way to his regular bedtime at night, by the new clock.  Yes, he'll be a bit cranky in the evening, but after a few days, he'll adjust!

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Holiday Travel Tips

Holiday travel can wreak havoc on your child's sleep - but with planning and careful monitoring, you'll be able to catch plenty of good zzz's (what a great holiday gift!).
Getting There

*Schedule travel - whether flying or driving - during nap time or your child's bedtime.  One benefit of a night flight is that your child will not get bored being in his seat for too long. 

*If traveling by plane, consider investing in a separate seat for your child (sometimes offered at discounted rates).  It is an important safety precaution - and will also give your arms a break, particularly on a long flight.
Creating a Good Sleep Environment

*If your child is still in a crib, arrange for a crib at your destination, if possible.  Or, bring a portable playpen.  Bring a crib sheet from home that you haven't washed in a few days, so it smells familiar to your child.

*When you arrive, spend time with your child in the room where he'll be sleeping to help him orient to that space.  Play with him; unpack while he's amusing himself on the floor.

*Bring white noise to protect your child against unusual sounds in the new environment, like the clickety-clack of the room service cart in the hallway.

*At a hotel, your room will likely have blackout shades; if you're staying at someone's home, bring materials to darken the windows (black plastic garbage bags work well, even if they don't look so hot) - but be sure to ask your host's permission first!  The dark windows will help your child sleep till his scheduled waketime and to take good naps.

Time Zone Changes

* If you're traveling west to east and staying for a week or less, stay on the time zone you came from (i.e., your child goes to bed at 10:30 pm instead of 7:30 pm and wakes at 9:30 am instead of 6:30 am).   

* If traveling east to west, slowly try to stretch your child as far as you can toward her regular sleep times according to the time zone you're in (i.e., her usual naptime of 11:30 am will feel like 2:30 pm; over the first 2 days, try to stretch closer and closer to the current clock time of 11:30 am).
Sleeping Away from Home

* Do as much of your regular wind-down routines as you can.  If your child is upset going down in a new environment or in the middle of the night, start with just a little bit of assistance, such as verbally reassuring him. 

* If he's still upset a minute or so later, pick him up, calm him down, and then try to put him down awake.  If he's just not having it, go ahead and help your child to sleep, or back to sleep - and don't worry about it! 

* As soon as you get home, you'll come right back to your nice sleep foundation.  He may be a bit rusty the first night or two, but he'll remember his good sleep skills quickly.

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