daylight savings time

March 8, 2022

Let’s talk about how to approach daylight savings time and your child’s sleep. Daylight Savings Time: Falling Back For the fall time change aka “falling back,” these are your options. First option: The week before the time change, start the morning 10 minutes later each day. By the time you reach Sunday, your times will […]

Daylight Savings Time and Your Child’s Sleep

Let’s talk about how to approach daylight savings time and your child’s sleep.

Daylight Savings Time: Falling Back

For the fall time change aka “falling back,” these are your options.

First option: The week before the time change, start the morning 10 minutes later each day. By the time you reach Sunday, your times will be lined up with the time change.

Second option: Beginning on the Sunday of the time change, expand each wake window or scheduled nap by 10-15 minutes. By the time you reach Wednesday or Thursday, bedtime will be back on track.

Third Option: Do nothing! Continue going by the times on the clock without adjusting anything.

It’s important to consider your child’s personality when deciding which route to choose. Obviously, if they are easy-going and flexible, doing nothing will likely be fine. Conversely, a more rigid child that has trouble with change, would do better with option 1 or 2.

Daylight Savings Time: Springing Forward

It’s finally here! Warmer weather, more daylight, and the end of seasonal depression (at least for me, ha.) I much prefer springing forward to falling back. Yes, we lose an hour of sleep, but I find this version of daylight savings time benefits outweighs its costs.

Have you been struggling with chronic early morning wakings? Your problem is about to be solved. If your kid is waking up at 5 am every morning despite you trying all of the things, do nothing when it comes to DST, behold, they will now be waking at 6 am.

Important to note: Babies who are taking 3+ naps a day, don’t need much schedule tweaking. Just continue to pay attention to wake windows and put them down when they need a nap.

When it comes to springing forward, consider this question. Do you want to keep your child’s schedule the same, or change it? If you want to change it, then Option 1 is for you.

Option 1: Do Nothing.

Option 1 is perfect if, as I mentioned above, you have a too early riser on your hands. The clock change is a welcomed way to get your little one sleeping later in the morning. Of course, this will mean a later bedtime at least for a bit, but if your child is waking up at 5 am on the reg, then they shouldn’t really be going to sleep any later than 6 pm anyway.

Doing nothing is also great for families that want to adopt a later “summer schedule.” Maybe you want to take advantage of the extra daylight and enjoy your summer to the max. You can go ahead and just go with the flow on this one.

Option 2: Gradually Shift Schedule BEFORE Time Change

With this option, we are slowly shifting your child’s schedule BACK in increments of 15 minutes every 1-3 days leading up to the day of the time change. Wake baby up 15 minutes earlier, put them down for each nap 15 minutes earlier, and move bedtime 15 minutes earlier.

For example a child on two naps with a 7-7 schedule with a nap at 10 and a nap at 2:

First Day:

Wake: 6:45

First nap: 9:45

Second nap: 1:45

Bedtime: 6:45

Second Day:

Wake: 6:30

First nap: 9:30

Second nap: 1:30

Bedtime: 6:30

Third Day:

Wake: 6:15

First nap: 9:15

Second nap: 1:15

Bedtime: 6:15

Fourth Day:

Wake 6:00

First nap: 9:00

Second nap: 1:00

Bedtime: 6:00

The goal is that by Saturday, we have shifted the schedule 1 hour earlier. On Sunday when your child wakes up their schedule will be the same by the clock (7-7 in this case).

Option 3: Gradually Shift Schedule AFTER Time Change

Option 3 is the same as Option 2, but we do it starting on the day of the time change. So, you’ll wake your child up 15 minutes earlier and shift forward naps and bedtime by 15 minutes every 1-3 days until you’ve reached your previous schedule.

Option 4: Weekend Shift

The weekend shift is perfect for parents who work outside the home and don’t have control over naps due to daycare. It is also great for kids who aren’t super sensitive to shifts in their schedules. This is also the method I will be using.

If you go this route, start by putting your child to bed thirty minutes early on Friday night. I suggest playing outside as much as you can and really tiring them out so that they’re ready for bed a bit earlier. Ask daycare to cap their nap that day by thirty minutes.

Example for a child with 1 nap at 12pm and a 7-7 schedule:

Friday bedtime: 6:30pm

Saturday wake up: 6:30 am

Naptime: 11:30 am

Saturday bedtime: 6:00pm

Finally, wake your child (if you need to) at 6 am on Sunday (the clock will say 7 am at this point).

At the end of the day, you already have a great sleeper, DST should not rock your world too much. If things are iffy with sleep, this can sometimes cause a problem. The good news is, you have me if that happens (which I hope it doesn’t.)

Has DST come and gone and your child’s sleep is still off track? I can help! Set up a free call to learn more.

-Carly

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