Spring daylight saving time means we’ve set our clocks an hour ahead. To help your child adjust to the time change, make sure to keep their routines the same, including bedtime. As children get older, their bodies naturally adjust to the change. You can also help them adjust by moving their bedtime back 15 minutes each night over a week or two to help their internal clock adjust. Be patient, as there will be an adjustment period and your child may get cranky because they’re sleepy.
It’s important to help your kids develop good sleep hygiene. That means getting the proper amount of rest, along with taking naps if they’re younger. A happy child is one that is well rested. A common myth among parents is that if you keep your child awake longer, it will make them more tired. This actually has a reverse effect. That’s because they won’t get good sleep and will be even more tired the next day. This is why the 15-minute increment adjustments are important. It’s not good to keep kids up past their natural bedtime.
If a child is acting up or acting out, take a look at their sleep schedule. If they are at the age where they need to take a nap, did they get one that day? If not, help them adjust by going to bed an hour early that night. Prepare yourself if this is not possible, as your child will likely be irritable. It may help to understand that lack of sleep is the reason they are acting that way.
Chris Miller, MD, chief of pediatrics at Cone Health, is a pediatrician in Greensboro and a member of the Cone Health Medical and Dental Staff. Dr. Miller received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine in 1998. He completed his residency at Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh in 2001 and has been serving the Greensboro area for nearly 20 years.