Daylight Savings- Spring Forward Daylight savings starts each spring season, this year happening on March 10, 2019. (By the way, I’d be completely okay if the rest of the country took notes from Arizona and Hawaii, and stopped observing Daylight Savings Time altogether!) It is time to “spring forward” the clocks. It can be a dreaded time for parents of young children because with this, comes an adjustment for sleep that does not happen immediately.
This is because children tend to be more structured in their bedtime and wake up around the same time each morning and that is why people usually can see a significant effect on children when the time changes. However, there are some things you can do to help make the transition to the new time go a little smoother.
First things first: My recommendation is to leave your clock alone Saturday night. Wake up Sunday morning, have breakfast, then go around your house and change your clocks. Psychologically, it will feel much better for everyone if you wait until Sunday morning to change the time.
Children (ages 5 yrs and up)/Teens/Adults
My best advice to help with the time change for this demographic is to split the difference with the old time and the new time. How does that work? If you have a child that does not nap and normally goes to bed at 7:00 pm, you would put them to bed at 7:30 pm on Sunday night, the first night of the time change. Do this for 3 nights, putting them to bed 30 minutes later than normal, then on the 4th night put them to bed at the normal time, such as 7:00 pm in this scenario. For teens and adults, you would split the difference at bedtime the same way, and I would recommend you do this over a few days as well.
Toddlers (ages 18 mo - 4 yrs)
With this age range, it's best to make the adjustment more slowly - giving your child time to adjust over a period of up to five days. On Sunday, the first day of the time change, you would put them for their first nap 30 minutes later than normal. So if they nap at 9:30 am usually, you would put them down at 10:00 am. You would do the same with the afternoon nap if they take an afternoon nap. For bedtime, if their normal bedtime is 7:00 pm, you would put them down at 7:30 pm. Do this for 3 nights after the time change and then on the 4th night, put them to bed at 7:00 pm and on 5th day move nap times back to normal time. So if your child was napping at 9:30 am under the "old time", put them down at 9:30 am and so on with the rest of the day.
Infants (3 mo - 18 mo)
If you have a baby and their bedtime has become predictable (usually over 6 months of age) meaning they are always going to bed around the same time each night, you would split the difference in smaller increments. For example, if bedtime is normally 7:00 pm move bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night until you reach the normal time. So the first night you would put them down at 7:45 pm, the second night 7:30 pm, and so on. In four nights you should be back to 7:00 pm.
You would make the same adjustments for naps – if their first nap of the day is at 9:30 am and 2:30 pm, you would have nap time be at 10:15 and 3:15 on the first day of the time change. The next day, 10:00 am and 3:00, the day after at 9:45 am and 2:45 pm and finally, 9:30 am and 2:30 pm on day four. If their bedtime and nap times are not predictable (0-4 months old) simply jump to the new time Sunday night as if you were traveling to a new time zone and follow their awake windows.
If you are experiencing challenges with your child's sleep that go beyond the adjustment of the time change, reach out for a phone call with me and learn how I can help your child overcome their sleep issues with you by their side every step of the way.
I am a Pediatric Sleep Consultant who works with families to help them resolve their littles' sleep issues. As a mom of two littles herself, Katie has walked in the shoes of her clients and is passionate about helping them re-discover peaceful sleeps in their own homes.