How can I make sure the time change doesn’t affect my kids’ sleep?

kids and sleep

Q: How can I make sure the time change doesn’t affect my kids’ sleep? Are they getting enough sleep?

First, it’s important to keep kids on a schedule with a bedtime routine. For example, kids should bathe, brush their teeth, spend a little time reading, then get to bed at a specific time. It’s important to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to keep on schedule.

With daylight saving time, it may take a few days to adjust. But sticking to your overall routine is key. To help kids adjust sooner, move their bedtime routine up by 15 minutes each day for four days leading up to March 8, when the clocks spring forward.

Let’s say your child’s bedtime is 8 pm:

  • Begin at 7:45 pm on March 4
  • Begin at 7:30 pm on March 5
  • Begin at 7:15 pm on March 6
  • Begin at 7:00 pm on March 7

How much sleep do kids need? It depends on their age.

Enough sleep is essential for kids to learn and stay focused at school.

  • Infants: 12 to 18 hours a day
  • Toddlers: 12 to 14 hours a day
  • Ages 5 to 12: 10 to 12 hours a night
  • Teenagers: 8 to 10 hours a night
Michael Clemmens, MDMichael Clemmens, MD, is a pediatrician and the medical director of Pediatrics at AAMC.

Originally published Feb. 15, 2017. Last updated March 2, 2020.

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