The Spring time change is approaching, and On March 13th at 2:00 a.m. we move our clocks forward by one hour and instead of rejoicing about more daylight and the cue that winter is almost over, parents everywhere await the horror. Yes, just when you have your baby on a great sleep schedule, Spring Daylight Saving Time hits and screws it all up!
Okay, let’s regroup and take a deep breath. There are a few ways you can prepare and handle this Spring time change and the easiest way to do it is to take the Wait it Out route. If you’re happy with your baby’s sleep schedule then simply keep wakeup and bedtime the same using the new adjusted time. You would wake your child at his usual time on the Sunday morning and carry on the day as usual. It will take a few days for your little one to adjust but they will fall into it, just as we do.
You can also achieve your child’s desired wake time by using the Gradual Transition approach and slowly introducing yourself and your baby to the new time by waking up slightly earlier than usual, around 4 to 5 days before the clocks change. If your usual wake time is 6:30 am move it to 6:15 a.m., then 6:00 a.m. etc., so that once the clocks spring forward your child will have already adjusted to the new times. You can go as far as moving the entire day earlier by at least one hour, including meal times. It shouldn’t take more than a week for your child to adjust to the new time change.
It’s during this time change where it’s really important to make sure that your child’s sleep environment is conducive to sleep, meaning it’s set up to block out that early morning sun, and cover those lighter bedtimes. Bedtime battles can ensue because the sun is still out when it’s now bedtime, and we can start seeing more early morning visitors due to the early morning rising sun. Here are some tips to encourage morning sleep-ins and relaxed bedtimes:
• Black-out blinds – Keeps those early sunrises banished from their room.
• White noise machines – These small portable devices can help drown out early morning bird chatter and traffic.
• Toddler alarm clocks – You can set it to your desired bedtimes and wake times, making it easier for your child to understand and follow the schedule.
• Quiet Time Box – These customized activity boxes can be used for bedtime and not just naps – Have them choose a puzzle or book that they can relax with until they fall asleep.
The important thing to remember is we go through these time changes twice and year and we always get through them with a little time and patience. Stick to your normal sleep rules, try not to pick up any new sleep habits, and wait while you and your little one adjusts. We got this!
Previously published at Goodnight Sleepsite.
Alanna McGinn is a Certified Sleep Consultant and Founder of Good Night Sleep Site – a Global Pediatric and Family Sleep Team. She provides free child and family sleep support through her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She invites you to join her sleep community as she works towards Good Night Sleep Site’s mission of a healthier rested family unit. For more sleep tips please visit Good Night Sleep Site. Join our movement and #BringBackBedtime.