Ugh. The dreaded DST issue. If you live in most states in the U.S., this is still a thing twice and year and can wreak havoc on your little one’s sleep schedule in some cases. So, let’s talk about how to approach daylight savings time and your child’s sleep.
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.
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 outweigh 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 in the way of 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 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 to sleep 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.
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:
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4|
|Wake 6:45||Wake 6:30||Wake 6:15||Wake 6:00|
|Nap 1: 9:45||Nap 1: 9:30||Nap 1: 9:15||Nap 1: 9:00|
|Nap 2: 1:45||Nap 2: 1:30||Nap 2: 1:15||Nap 2: 1:00|
|Bedtime 6:45||Bedtime: 6:30||Bedtime: 6:15||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 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 30 minutes “later” by the clock (which will feel like 6:30) and shift forward naps and bedtime later by the clock. Then bedtime will remain your normal bedtime (feels like 30 minutes later.) On Monday, return to your normal schedule.
|Wake at 7:30 (feels like 6:30)||Wake at 7 am|
|Naptime 12:30 (feels like 11:30)||Naptime 12|
|Bedtime 7 pm||Bedtime 7 pm|
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.
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