Daylight Savings and Your Toddler

Sleep is rarely easy in households with very young children. Just when a pattern seems to develop and the family routine includes a longer stretch of sleep, something happens that upends our restless nights.

The one hour adjustment for Daylight Savings can make a significant difference in the sleep patterns of many young children. Their rhythms for waking and sleeping are fragile at best, and this time adjustment can be hard for them to adjust to.

The staff at Harley Hopkins wanted to offer some strategies for helping your family smooth the transition to this hourly change.

  • A week before the change, begin adjusting your child’s bedtime by 10-15 minute increments.  Every other day of the week, move her bedtime up by this small among of time. When the official change happens, her inner clock won’t sense such a big difference.
  • It can take up to a week for the change to fully be incorporated into your child’s inner rhythm. Be patient with them as they wake earlier or resist sleep in the evening.
  • If you regularly wake your child in the morning, continue to wake them at the time you normally do, according to the adjusted clock. Morning waking has an effect on night-time sleeping.
  • Have a bright, sunny, and active morning each day of the week after the daylight savings change happens. Being active in the morning helps a child to develop a sense of the flow of the day. An active morning encourages a regular pattern of active / rest /active /rest throughout the day.
  • Keep a routine throughout your day for meals, naps and activity. Feed your child at regular intervals, and have a nap or rest time at regular times. Your child will be able to count on their biological needs being attended to at regular intervals, and their body will begin to internalize the schedule.

Daylight savings time is often difficult for us all – but especially difficult for families with young children. Use these strategies to successfully navigate the change this year.

Fall Fun!

The changing seasons mean cooler temperatures, shorter days, beautiful trees and a bounty of fall activities! Fall is a perfect time to build some new traditions with your family whether it be something as simple as a nature walk to admire the fall foliage or something more involved like a trip to pick apples for a delicious homemade pie.

Traditions are a great way to build a sense of family and security in your young ones. Traditions bring meaning and purpose to family time and, as research is increasingly showing, are what help teens feel attachment to their family as they’re making their way towards independence.

This may seem like a daunting task, but forming a new tradition is simply about finding something your family enjoys and continuing to do it year after year. Inevitably what the activities look like will change from 2-year-old to 12-year-old, but the fundamental aspects remain the same: time together that you look forward to each year.

The following are some ideas to help get you started!

  • Apple Orchards. Minnesota has an amazing selection of apple orchards open in the early fall ranging from small “pick them yourself” farms to larger, more commercial farms that offer activities and food galore. Each has it’s own charm, its simply a matter of what you are in the mood for!
  • Nature Drives and Walks. Fall colors can amaze even the tiniest of passenger. Plan a family excursion to an out of the way destination, pack a picnic and take in all the beauty that surrounds you. Older toddler and preschoolers would love collecting leaves to take home and press or make sketchings of. Younger babies enjoy watching the wind blow the through the trees.
  • Embrace the Pumpkin Spice craze and do some family baking! Children love to help in the kitchen and are more compelled to try new foods if they have a hand in preparing it. Take a trip to the farmers market (or grocery store) for the “special ingredients” and work with your child to create a delicious new treat.

Think back to when you were growing up. Were there activities that you just came to expect each year? What memories stick out to you about those? What memories would you like to create for your own children?