• Mary Cantwell

Spring Forward: How to help baby adjust to Daylight Saving!

It’s starting to get warmer outside, baby is sleeping well, flowers are starting to bloom and then it slowly creeps into your mind… Spring Forward is around the corner! Twice a year Daylight Saving Time pops its head out in Spring and Fall and it makes parents fret on how their child is going to handle the one-hour time difference.


Why is my child so grumpy after the time change?

Children are affected by this time change ranging from being grumpy, off during the day, taking longer to fall asleep or waking up earlier but typically they are back on track within a week or two. I equate the feeling they have to us having jet lag from a trip. It’s unpleasant, we feel off but with a plan we are back on track quickly.


Now that we the shock has worn off, let’s get a game plan together to tackle Daylight Saving Time (DST). Spring Forward, which occurs on March 13th, means we lose an hour when the clock “Springs Forward” on Sunday morning.


Three options to tackle Daylight Saving Time:


Gradual:

This works for all children but if yours is a sensitive sleeper then this is a perfect match. For reference, a sensitive sleeper is one that sleep gets off track if schedule is tweaked too much or too fast. A week before DST, we want to start gradually adjusting their current daily schedule 10 minutes earlier until we have the whole hour covered by Saturday night.


For example if your child's bedtime is 7:00 pm, on Monday do bedtime at 6:50pm, Tuesday at 6:40pm, Wednesday at 6:30pm, Thursday at 6:20pm, Friday at 6:10pm and Saturday at 6:00pm. When they wake on Sunday morning, they will already have adjusted and will wake at their normal wake time.


Semi-Gradual:

This works for all children and is an option for a non-sensitive sleeper. For reference, a non-sensitive sleeper is one that sleep is off for a few days when schedule is tweaked but child gets back to current sleep schedule quickly. A few days before DST, start adjusting daily schedule 20 minutes earlier so they are adjusted once they wake up on Sunday morning. For example if your child's bedtime is 7:00pm, on Thursday do bedtime at 6:40pm, on Friday do 6:20pm and Saturday do bedtime at 6:00pm. On Sunday morning they will wake up on adjusted time. Viola!


Do Nothing:

This works best for non-sensitive sleepers or if your child has a consistent early morning wake time (before 6am) then this one hour time difference works in your favor. Go ahead and put your child to bed at normal time on Saturday night and they will wake up at the adjusted time the next day (so if wakes at 7am will wake at 8am adjusted or if EWU at 6am it will now by 7am-woohoo!). Go about your normal routine and put them down for nap/bedtime at regular schedule time. They may have a harder time falling asleep the first few days and will adjust quickly.


No matter what you choose, these couple tips will help your child:

  • Get out in the sunlight as much as possible

  • Maintain your routine

  • Make sure child's room is super dark

  • Get lots of exercise so they are ready for sleep

How does Daylight Saving Time affect newborns? Newborns circadian sleep rhythms aren't established yet so no need to concern yourself too much on the time change. If they need an extra nap that day due to time change, that is totally fine!


Have questions on this upcoming time change? Comment below or we will be chatting about it over on Insta!

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