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Are your kids waking up too early or late after time change?   After a time change, it can be so hard to get our kids to get back to a nice sleeping schedule.  When your kids are waking too early, it can make them tired, cranky and just not very happy kids.  When they are waking up late, they are running behind, often still sleepy and just not “on their game.”  Today I’m partnering with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for this sponsored post to share tips on how to help your child adjust to the time change.

sleep in after a time change

Warm weather and spring may be on the way, but daylight saving time (DST) on March 10 also means losing an hour of sleep. If you are one of the millions already sleeping  less than seven hours on a regular basis – the amount recommended by the American
Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) – now it’s more important than ever to get a good start on sleep.

I recently read an article on, written by Nadene van der Linden,  a clinical psychologist. Nadene is the author of the much-loved Tales from the Parenting Trenches: a clinical psychologist vs motherhood.   Nadene writes…

“Most parents know that sleep is important for children’s wellbeing. Adults, and parents in particular, generally value sleep and know too well the way it affects our own emotional well-being when we don’t get enough sleep. But how important is sleep to your child’s happiness?

The 2017 BTN Happiness Survey conducted by the University of Melbourne and Behind the News TV program involved 47,000 Australian children. It found that sleep was the biggest indicator of happiness. The online study found that getting enough sleep made children twice as likely to report feeling happy lots of the time.

“These results provide compelling evidence that sleep is a key indicator of child wellbeing,” said Associate Professor Lisa Gibbs, the Chair of The University of Melbourne Children’s Lives Initiative, in an interview with ABC News. Before you start getting anxious about whether your child gets the prescribed amount of sleep for their age, it’s important to remember that children who sleep well tend to feel safe and secure. In the survey results, children who did not feel safe were four times more likely to have atypical sleep patterns, meaning they slept too much or too little for the age group.”

She goes on to mention that some keys to helping your child with their happiness include daily exercise, limiting electronics (especially in the evenings), dealing with any trauma and getting enough sleep with a consistent bedtime.  I couldn’t agree more.

With millions of Americans already failing to get the recommended seven or more hours of sleep on a regular basis, it’s especially important for those who are sleep-deprived to prepare in advance for the spring time change.

Guide to help get children used to time change.


We put our kids to bed at 7:00 and I want them to sleep all night because getting enough sleep helps our kids to be happier and healthier.   We have taught each of our kids to sleep until 7:00 am (this time works for us during the week for school and on the weekends).

Sleep is essential, so teaching our kids great sleep/wake patterns will benefit your child greatly.  (enough sleep = healthier child… better ability to stay focused, happier children… there are so many benefits to getting enough sleep).

Along with nutrition and exercise, sleep is one of the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle. Healthy sleep improves your health and quality of life in a variety of ways; it’s essential for health, well-being, and safety.   Sleep is so important!

We have four kids and let me tell you; our kids were waking up EARLY!

I knew that I had to do something when our older kids were waking up at 5:00 and 5:30 in the morning. It was still dark outside, they were waking their siblings, and they were tired during the day. Kids need to get plenty of sleep. If you are wondering how much sleep your child needs (although individual sleep needs vary)… the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that adults get seven or more hours of healthy sleep on a regular basis for optimal health, productivity, and daytime alertness.   Check out the AASM bedtime calculator to identify the right bedtime for you & your child.

Note: Those already not achieving a healthy amount of sleep consistently, especially teens, may feel increased negative effects during a time change.

PS- our kids wake up at 7:00.  I don’t consider 7:00 to be early, but 5 is a little out of my comfort zone. 😉 Sheet on how many hours of sleep children need.


Or you can look at this chart from Wilson Elementary School: How the chart works–>> If they wake up at a particular time, they need to go to bed at the time below that time, depending on their age.  So a five-year-old would need to go to bed by 6:45 if they had to be up at 6:00). I’d adjust it a bit, to fit your family’s schedule, but it does show that kids need a lot of sleep… and to that point, I agree.

01-09-2015-12-09-52-PM To help our kids learn good sleep habits, we came up with this idea, and I have shared it with friends and family, and they do it, too. It works!  We finally figured out a way to keep our kids in bed longer (giving them the chance to get enough sleep for their bodies and minds) This idea is to naturally set our children’s internal clocks to a time that is more suiting to their schedule (with preschool and grade school).  It allows their bodies to sleep until it is time to wake up.

After you determine an appropriate wake-up time, you need to practice that number with your kids. If you want them to get up at 7:00, show them the number 7. Show it to them on paper. Show it to them on their clock. Show it to them in books. Have them practice writing it. HOW TO DO THIS: What you need:

  • A digital clock
  • A piece of paper (I use index cards. You can use anything!)
  • Tape
  • Marker or crayon

WRITE JUST THE HOUR of the time you want the kids to come out of bed on your piece of paper.  Write it big (a little bigger than the number on the clock). 6:00?  Write 6 7:00? Write 7.  (This is our ‘allowed out of bed’ time) 8:00? Write 8. Now tape that paper over the MINUTES on your digital clock so that all that you are left seeing is the hour and the paper. Here is what it looks like (sorry that my time was 4:00 when I took it ) A foam baseball mitt with a clock resting against it. Show your kids when the number on the clock (the hour) matches the number on their paper, they can come out of bed. Here is a close-up: sleep later

I do not let our kids get out of bed before 7:00, for safety reasons. I don’t want them in their rooms playing when I do not know about it. I want them in their beds. (I made this rule after I had read this heart-breaking story, last year, about the little girl that died when her dresser fell on top of her while her parents were asleep in their room- it was one of those VERY HEAVY dresser/changing tables that everyone has.   Her mom didn’t realize it until she (the mom) woke up for the day.

Her story has opened my eyes to the fact that dangers lurk where you don’t expect them, even with furniture that you would NEVER expect to fall over… same with toys…. you just never know which ones have hidden dangers, even if you don’t expect it).  For that reason, I don’t want our kids awake without me knowing, so they stay in bed until 7:00…

OK- back to the topic at hand… the time-change↓

I think that our children have internal alarms because when I check on them if I am up at 6:00 am, if I am up, they will still be asleep. When the clock turns to 7, they come rushing into our room with a “Good morning, Mom!”

Oh- I should remind you that I didn’t start this until our kids were almost three years old and could understand it.


When they come out of their room the first few days early (and they will), just take them back to bed and say “You can come out at 7:00, when the number of the clock matches. Are they the same now?  Ok, sweetheart- go back to bed.” (put them back into bed).  Now what you will want to do is make sure that when it DOES turn seven, you go in and say “Ok! It’s time to come out now! It’s 7:00!! Great job!” Do this for over a week, until they get it.

As with anything, you need to remember that you have to TEACH your kids this new rule.   You can not expect them to sleep until 7:00 tomorrow, just because you started this today. Give it a week or two, and you will have them sleeping later.

Tip: Take it slowly  If your child has been getting up at 5, don’t expect him/her to sleep until 7.  You have to do this slowly.  I would change the clock for this, too, so that at the real 5:30 (first few days) their clock would say 7 (or your goal hour).  I would move it every few days over a few weeks until they were waking up at 7:00.  (Just my two cents)

Another completely different idea that a friend on Facebook gave me is to have your lamp set to a timer (like the kind that you get when you are going on vacation) and have it turn on at a specific time (example: 7:00 am).  When the light goes on, they can get out of bed.

Another idea: you could try an alarm clock like this one that I found on Amazon with my affiliate link:  (The light is red when they need to stay in bed and green when they can come out)


Good luck!

If you want access to my sleep schedule, free sleep course & printable chart, join here:

World Sleep Day is an annual event to raise awareness of sleep disorders and the burden that they place on society. Join AASM on Friday, March 15, to learn more (and win a $100 gift card!) about how good sleep is crucial to ensure good health and quality of life during the #WorldSleepDay and #HealthySleepChat on Twitter.


in bed by 7:00

2, 3 or 4 year old waking at night

stay-in-their-own-bed Mommy, will you lay with me

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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