I’m not sure how it’s even possible to be at Daylight Savings time again, but it is just around the corner!
Sunday March 14 ,2021 is Spring Forward for those that live in participating areas. And for those of you who do not, just know how jealous we all are that you don’t have to deal with this pesky tradition that just needs to go!
The reason is it such a big hassle for parents is that it messes with our kids' schedules! It can really throw off some children’s circadian rhythm and can take a little while to get back on track.
Anything involved with changing up our children’s sleep patterns is inevitably going to stress us out!
But, rest assured! The Spring Daylight Savings is a lot easier and goes smoother than Fall. This is because we are moving the time forward an hour instead of going backwards. A lot of families use this time to push their child’s schedule forward.
If you have a baby 5 months or younger, just stick to honoring their awake times rather than stressing about this. When they wake in the morning, their first nap will be after their age-appropriate wake window is up. Because the younger babies tend to have a more unpredictable schedule until closer to 6 months, we don’t have much of a schedule to adjust.
Now, let’s talk about 2 different ways that you can handle the time change for babies and children older than 5 months!
Do nothing! Many families go this route to allow for a later bedtime and later wake up time for the upcoming summer months. Personally, this is what we like to do, too! However, some families may not be able to do this if their schedule doesn’t allow the flexibility.
Move naps and bedtime by 30 minutes every few days until you’ve pushed to an hour earlier. To make this option easier, leave one clock in your house on the old time for a few days to help you figure out the timing of everything. The good thing about the Spring is that this option is much easier because we’re putting baby to bed earlier, rather than making them stay up longer like we have to try to do in the Fall. When you wake up on Sunday of the time change, allow your child to wake at their normal time, which will read an hour later on the new clocks. Then, you’ll put your baby down 30 minutes ‘later’ on the new clock which will actually feel like 30 minutes ‘earlier’ to their bodies. Do this for 3-4 days and then add in the remaining 30 minutes to get you to the full one-hour time change. Here are some examples of what this may look like:
If you have a child that is not taking naps anymore, you can do one of two options:
Keep bedtime at their normal time. Remember, this will feel like a full hour earlier so be sure to do lots of activities to tire them out.
Move bedtime an hour later on the new clock. This will feel like their normal bedtime but will just appear one hour later.
Don’t forget that the time change can take a week or two for your child to adjust to. Don’t get stressed out if it throws your child off a bit. Also, if your child is having difficulty sleeping to begin with, then we need to teach them how to sleep. Any schedule change can make sleep struggles magnified.
Which option are you going with for your own child?