4 Useful Tips to Help Your Toddler or School-Aged Child Adjust to The Upcoming Time Change

4 Useful Tips to Help Your Toddler or School-Aged Child Adjust to The Upcoming Time Change

time change
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The feared time for parents has come again.  Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday at 2 am and another shift in the sleep schedule must happen.  Sleep specialists, like myself, typically recommend shifting a baby’s schedule forward or backward (depending on the time change) incrementally for a couple of days leading up to the actual event. It is effective because their bedtime and wake-up time are only modified a small amount every few days. 

But if you have children who are in daycare or school and have a set schedule that cannot be adjusted until the day of the time change, then the incremental change plan is not a reasonable tactic. 

So, what are some ways to handle the time change for your toddler and school-aged children?

4 Useful Tips to Help Your Toddler or School-Aged Child Adjust to The Upcoming Time Change - BC Parent Newsmagazine

4 tips to help your child adapt to the time change as quickly and effectively as possible

Tip 1: Exercise and Sunlight

Sunlight and exercise are some of the biggest contributors to a good night’s sleep. Exercise helps to burn off energy and gets the body ready for bedtime, but the sun also plays a very interesting role here. 

Blue light, during the day, helps enormously in melatonin production, which is the key hormone when it comes to sleep. It also aids in regulating our internal clocks, which naturally produces cortisol during the day for energy and alertness, and then melatonin when it gets dark to help us ease into sleep. And the sun, despite its appearance, is the mother of all blue light sources. Getting your little one a healthy dose of sunlight during the day, will work wonders in helping to get them to sleep on the first night of the time change. 

Tip 2: Bedtime Routine

Now, your child’s bedtime routine is still one of the most effective tools in the sleep toolbox. It does so much more than just getting your child dressed for bed. When a bedtime routine is done repetitively in the same order every night, the first step of the routine signals to the brain that bedtime is looming, which starts the release of melatonin and shuts off the cortisol, so by the time your child lays their head on the pillow, they’re already prepared for a great night’s sleep. 

So, avoid the temptation to modify the routine to accommodate any shifts in the schedule. Instead, however long your child’s bedtime routine typically takes, get it started precisely that long before you want them to get to sleep.  Whatever changes you need to make to the schedule to fit the time change in, do it elsewhere in the day and keep the bedtime routine intact. 

4 Useful Tips to Help Your Toddler or School-Aged Child Adjust to The Upcoming Time Change - BC Parent Newsmagazine

Tip 3: Slight Adjustments at Bedtime

Even though your child may have to get up at the same time in the morning, you may still be able to make gradual changes around bedtime. Moving their bedtime either forward or back, depending on which way the clocks are changing, by 15 minutes every two or three nights after the time change, can lessen the effect it has on their schedule compared to a one-hour switch overnight. Keep in mind that overtiredness is the adversary of good sleep, so whatever you do, don’t keep them up for an extra hour the night before the clock moves forward. Always error on the side of more sleep. If they wake up a little early in the morning, that’s OK, and more desirable than having them stay awake for too long at night.

Tip 4: Remain Consistent

Ideally, your little one will fall easily right into the new schedule, but it’s just as common that they’ll need about a week for everything to adjust back into place. Be patient and remain consistent and try not to make any other big changes to their sleep. They’ll settle in much quicker if there are no other modifications around their bedtime and sleep habits.

Remember that routine and consistency is so important when it comes to your child’s sleep.  If your child is struggling with sleep, review their bedtime routine and the time that they are going to bed.  If it is fluctuating constantly, that could be a major factor in why they are having sleep struggles.  And with the days starting to get longer now, resist the urge to allow your kids to stay up later than their normal, earlier bedtime.

Missy Morrison Charko is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and Founder of Say Yes to the Rest Pediatric Sleep Consulting. She resides in the Blind Bay, BC area with her husband and two young children. She provides Private Sleep Consultations for ages 0-12 within the Thompson-Okanagan Region and remotely across Canada and the USA.  You can visit her at sayyestotherest.com or follow her @SayYesToTheRestToday for more tips and information.




Rainy day activity – yummy, scented playdough!

6 Reasons Your Child Might Need Physiotherapy That Is Commonly Missed

BC Parent NewsMagazine Logo | www.bcparent.ca | BC Parent Logo

A quest for sleep – my sleep training diaries

Happy Child

Want a Happy Child? Here are 10 Scientifically Proven Ways to Raise Kids Who Love Life

healthy eating

Author Azaliya Schulz, releases her new book on Healthy Eating Habits.

Lunar New Year

5 Exciting Ways to Celebrate Lunar New Year This Weekend!

Join our weekly newsletter

Related Posts

5 Helpful Tips to transition to a Summer Sleep Schedule

There is still a month and a half or so left of school, and it is so important to make sure that your child is still getting the adequate number of hours of sleep that they need each night. Keep in mind, that sleep aids in your child’s growth and development, affects their moods and behaviours at home and at school, and allows their cells to repair at night so that they are restored to start the next day. 

4 Useful Tips to Help Your Toddler or School-Aged Child Adjust to The Upcoming Time Change

Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday at 2 am and another time change shift in the sleep schedule must happen.  Here are 4 ways to handle the time change for your toddler and school-aged children.

Nearly 1 in 5 Canadian Parents are Losing Sleep Over the Stress of Parenting

We're less than two weeks out from the semi-annual daylight savings shift. In honour of Daylight Savings, Owlet Baby Care released eye-opening information on the state of shuteye--or lack thereof--among Canadians. The survey of over 1,500 Canadians revealed surprising data on everything from what parents would be willing to give up for a good night’s sleep to who’s sleeping in and how much time it really takes to get the kids in bed at night.

7 Helpful Tips to Help Ease Your Child's Fear of the Dark

Fear of the dark usually begins to show up around 2 years old and can continue without some intervention into the later years. As toddlers’ minds mature, their memory becomes longer, and their imagination develops.  They are aware that there are things out there that can hurt them. They have most likely seen a movie or been read a few books that touch on a couple of spooky or scary elements, even if they are geared towards children. This is especially common with our older children, where they have seen something or heard about something that begins to give them fears at night.

Scroll to Top

Connect with us

Signup today for the latest parenting tips, contest alerts and local deals.