Spring Forward: Preparing for Daylight Savings Time

Not sure how to tackle this adjustment for your little one? I’ll make it simple by providing three options on shifting your day. Daylight savings will take effect this Sunday, March 12th, 2017, and will give us an extra hour of daylight into the evening that we all so desperately need after the long winter.

As the transition approaches, make sure your child is getting good naps for the few days leading up to the change. This will help avoid super cranky and overtired children as you are helping them make this shift.

Option 1 – “Do Nothing”

Sounds too easy, right?  Here are the specifics:

  • On Saturday night after baby has gone to bed, change all the clocks in your house to reflect the new time. That way, when you get up in the morning you are operating under this new schedule and not thinking about “what time it really is” as it relates to before the change.
  • Move into Sunday like any other day, following the adjusted clocks that reflect the time change. This will mean that if you have an early riser, they will wake at a more acceptable hour!
  • Don’t let them sleep too late. Make sure you wake your child by 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. to ensure that they will be sleepy by bedtime.
  • Keep following the clock as the day goes on for naps, meals, and snacks.
  • For bedtime, follow the new clock and get your child down during their “normal” time. This might mean that your baby that usually goes down at 6:30 p.m. will possibly appear that they are not tired since it only feels like 5:30 p.m. to them. This will take a few days to work itself out during the transition.

Be flexible during this shift and understand that you may need to utilize the Sleep Lady Shuffle to help them drift off to sleep.

Option 2 – Split the difference

In its simplest form, it is essentially shifting by 30 minutes for all sleeping and eating occasions for a few days.

  • Same as option 1, change all of your clocks on Saturday night and make sure you wake your child by 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.
  • For their naps and bedtime, shift them a half hour later (new time) for a few days. Here is an example schedule for a child that is on 1 nap a day.

-First nap is normally at 1:00 p.m. – on the first day of daylight savings, shift their nap start time to 1:30 p.m. (their body will feel like they are going down at 12:30 p.m.).

-Bedtime is normally 7:00 p.m. – on the first day of daylight savings, shift their bedtime to 7:30 p.m. (their body will feel like they are going down at 6:30 p.m.)

  • Shift the time for a few days after the time change, then move them back to their normal nap and bedtimes.

Option 3 – Small Shifts Leading Up To Change

This will be an option if you are reading this before Thursday night – a few nights in advance of the daylight savings switch. Each nap and bedtime, shift the start time earlier by 15 minute increments. Here is how it would look:

  • If bedtime is typically 7:00 p.m., put your little one down at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, 6:30 p.m. on Friday and 6:15 p.m. on Saturday. Once Sunday night rolls around, you could start with a 7:15 p.m. timing (which would potentially still feel like 6:15 p.m. to your child, but they will most likely have started adjusting already).
  • Naps on Friday and Saturday would also move up in increments accordingly to follow nighttime.
  • Wake your child on Sunday by 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. to help them continue the adjustment.

As with all the other methods, consistency is key and provide your little one a stable routine and the shift in time will fall into place quickly.

Other Daylight Savings Tips

  • Make sure you have room darkening shades for their bedroom since they will be going down when it’s still light out.
  • Expose them to bright sunlight in the morning. This will help reset their internal clocks and make the adjustment easier.
  • As I mentioned above, be flexible and watch your child for their sleepy cue’s and offer sleep as soon as you are able. This might mean they are not following your new schedule perfectly, but that’s okay. We need to give them time to adjust.
  • Continue to do quiet and relaxing activities before bedtime to avoid your child becoming overstimulated. Eliminate screens and television and instead work on a puzzle or read books before the bedtime routine begins.

If you have any questions on this upcoming shift, feel free to ask away on Nite & Day’s Facebook page!

About Elizabeth Sarles

Elizabeth Sarles is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach and the owner of Nite & Day. She lives in Edina, Minnesota with her husband Lien, two little guys – Lien and Harrison, and her first baby (and bed-hog), Eddie the Yorkie.

Leave a Reply

Get started tonight

Sign up to get instant access to your FREE chapter of The The Good Night, Sleep Tight Workbook