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  • Mary Cantwell

Daylight Savings: How to help baby adjust to the time change

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

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. No worries! Lets chat through the time change, how it affects your child and options to fall back.


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 the shock has worn off, let’s get a game plan together to tackle Daylight Saving Time (DST). Fall Back, which occurs on November 6th, means we gain an hour when the clock “Falls Back” 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 later 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 7:15pm, Tuesday at 7:20pm, Wednesday at 7:30pm, Thursday at 7:40pm, Friday at 7:50pm and Saturday at 8:00pm. When they wake on Sunday morning, they will already have "fallen back" 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 later 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 7:20pm, on Friday do 7:40pm and Saturday do bedtime at 8:00pm. On Sunday morning they will wake up on adjusted time. Viola!


Do Nothing:

This works best for non-sensitive sleepers. 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 7:00am will wake at 6:00am adjusted. Go about your normal routine and put them down for nap/bedtime at regular schedule time (if struggling with the whole hour do 30 minutes). They may have a harder time staying awake or are fussier than normal 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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