Sleep is so important! Any new parent understands this due to a general lack of it! Eventually, you hopefully find a sort of rhythm to your child's sleep schedule, but it doesn't always come easy. As your child grows and changes, you may need to adjust his/her sleep schedule. Whether it's going from two naps to one, or making bedtime a little later, these adjustments take small and patient changes over a period of several weeks.
Reasons to Change the ScheduleBefore making any changes, it's important to make sure you're changing your child's schedule for the right reasons. Here are some common reasons and ways to shake things up:
- A later bedtime because your child is waking up too early
- An earlier bedtime because your child is always tired
- One longer nap instead of two short ones
- An earlier nap so they wake up earlier
When you make a change to your child's sleep schedule, start with small increments. For instance, a simple ten-minute difference each day can help your child get to the desired time without throwing them off too much. If you try to change their nap time/bedtime all at once, they likely won't respond well.
After about a week of these ten-minute increments, you've likely reached the desired time. Maintain all pre-nap and pre-bedtime routines and keep the desired time consistent. If your child hasn't started to adjust after a good two weeks of the new schedule, consider what else is going on.
Light in a child's room can wake them up earlier than normal, or family and visitors in the home can make bedtimes much later than usual. Be observant about the day-to-day activities that may affect your child's sleep schedule, and adjust as needed.