Nothing stirs up anxiety in new parents more than a daylight saving time related change. Especially those parents who have painstakingly sleep trained their babies. But fear not fellow parents! The Spring time change is by far and away the easier of the two time changes for babies to tolerate. And it can sometimes have the added benefit of changing your up-before-the-son child to a up-just-after-the-sun-but-I’m-still-ready-to-play-RIGHTNOW kiddo. Yay! So without further ado, let’s discuss how to get ready for this daylight saving time change…
Step One: Prepare the room
Nothing gets kids up bright eyed and bushy tailed more than sunlight at 5:00 am. Prep for that ahead of time by making sure as much sunlight is blocked from your child’s room as possible. While early sunlight may not be an issue yet (especially in northern parts of the US), in about a month’s time we will all find it streaming into our children’s room well before the 6:00 am hour.
Sunlight is comprised of mainly blue colored light which tells the brain to cut off melatonin production, and prepare to be awake for the day. (This same blue light is reason it’s good to avoid screens before bedtime!) Covering up that early morning sunlight can help ensure your child continues sleeping late(r) in the morning, throughout the rest of the spring and summer months.
Step Two: Move their schedule forward
Remember that your child cannot tell time, nor do they care what time your watch reads. On the Sunday morning of the time change simply move your child’s entire daily schedule one hour forward.
Do you usually start your day around 6:30 am? Simply wait for the clock to read 7:30 am before getting your son or daughter up. Whatever time you normally nap your little one, put them down about an hour later than their typical nap time. Remember, these times will “feel” to your child as the exact same times they are normally accustomed to sleeping. Bedtime should also be an hour later on the clock.
Step Three: Decide what happens next
After Sunday you have two choices.
1) Permanently move your child’s schedule later.
Or 2) keep your child’s wake and sleep times the same as prior to the time change.
Parents of extremely early risers may find this time change to be music to their sleep-deprived ears. While Moms and Dads who need to get out the door at 7:00 am, no matter what, may loathe the idea of having to wake up their little guy every morning to start the day on time.
To the first group, I suggest simply staying on the later schedule. If you find your little one getting up earlier and earlier, make sure you maintain those naps and bedtimes to those later hours. Doing so should ensure that their morning wake time remains as late as possible.
To the latter group, simply wake your child up at the time you need to begin your day, and move their naps and bedtime earlier as well. They may be somewhat resistant at first but usually within 1 to 2 weeks time you’ll find your child has adjusted nicely to the time change.
Step Four: Enjoy the longer days!
If you’re anything like me (and can’t wait for spring and summer to come!), then this time change is the best medicine for powering through the remaining weeks of cold and dark (if you’re in the PNW like me)! Summer nights with a glass of wine will be here before we know it!
To review, when handling the “spring forward” time change, or daylight saving time with your kiddo you should…
- Make their room as dark as possible (the sunlight will be creeping in sooner!)
- On Sunday, move their entire schedule (wake up, nap(s), and bedtime) one hour forward.
- After Sunday, decide whether or not to keep with the new hour-ahead schedule, or continue with the previous schedule.
- Celebrate – we’re getting closer to summer!
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