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How To Adjust Your Kid's Sleep Schedule

How To Adjust Your Kid's Sleep Schedule

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 Schedule

Before 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
I'm sure you can think of a host of other reasons to change your child's sleep schedule. The bottom line is that any changes you make should be based off of your child's behavior. If they seem constantly tired or grumpy, maybe it's time for an adjustment. If they are always waking up far too early full of energy, perhaps they don't need a nap each day. Just don't feel too overwhelmed if the adjustment takes more than a couple weeks to really kick in.

Start Small

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.

Stay Consistent

It might be rough go for a while there, especially if the adjustment is for bedtime. However, it's important to remember that kids are resilient and respond best to consistent schedules. One week of change might feel like a month to you if things aren't going well, but keep at it. The best thing you can do is remain consistent once you've made the change (slowly, remember).

In the end, children will respond if you are patient and consistent. Do your best and don't forget to maintain that ever-important pre-nap and pre-bedtime routine.

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