Oh, Daylight Savings Time! We say hello (not happily) again!
As most of you know, every Fall we push our clocks back an hour to “save daylight”. I get why it WAS a thing but I’m still trying to figure out why it still is!
Either way, we do it. To people without kids, it’s wonderful! You get an extra hour of sleep and it feels great!
But to parents, it’s quite scary! 7am becomes 6 am and our children’s body clocks are still programmed to wake up at that same time regardless of what the clock says!
However, let’s think of it this way: it’s only one hour!!! We’ve spent longer amounts of time pushing babies out, calming down crying infants, trying to get little ones to sleep and, last but certainly not least, tolerating our husbands sitting on the toilet while the house burns down! You can do this!
Especially with my help! I have three ways to handle the time change that I recommend choosing from. Let’s take a look!
First things first, I recommend keeping one clock in the house at the old time for a few days until you’re back on track! This will help avoid you losing your mind! I usually keep the kitchen oven clock on old time until we’re on our schedule again.
Option 1: Do nothing!
You guessed it, this is the easiest one! But, keep in mind, that your entire day will shift an hour earlier according to the clock. So, if you woke up before baby at 6am to work out or have alone time, you’ll now be waking at 5am to get ahead of baby’s wake up at 6am! But, this will make Spring Forward easier, as you will not do anything and just allow your day to go back an hour later.
This also only works for families who are not rushing out the door by a certain time each day. If you can be flexible with your schedule and let it flip flop back and forth each Spring and Fall, this will be a great choice for you!
Here is what this would look like:
Option 2: Start Saturday during the day
For this option, you will want to push your baby’s naps and bedtime starting Saturday by 15 minutes, another 15 minutes on Sunday and the final 30 minutes on Monday.
Now, this must be done carefully and you’ll want to keep a close eye on those sleepy cues, especially for the younger babies. We wouldn’t want to find ourselves in an endless cycle of overtiredness!
Here’s an example schedule of what this will look like for a baby on 2 naps:
Do you see how we pushed 15 minutes for the first 2 days then the other 30 minutes on the third day to get us to the one hour?
A good rule to remember is if your little one has a hard time stretching wake windows, start this process before Saturday and push the wake windows more gently. I would recommend starting on Thursday then add 15 minutes each day for 4 days.
Option 3: Start Sunday and split the difference of the hour change.
So, we will change it by pushing 30 minutes first, then another 30 minutes after a few days. This works best for older babies who are at less of a risk for getting too overtired.
1.) When you go to bed on Saturday night, do not change any clocks and turn off any alarms. Put your phone far from your bed. This is a psychology tactic to trick your brain into thinking no change has happened.
2.) Allow your little one to wake at normal time (even if the clock says it’s one hour earlier)
3.) Then, push nap by an extra 30 minutes. You can take them outside, offer a snack, play a new activity/toy, etc... whatever you need to do to get the extra time. This can be tricky but just know your cues and put them down for a nap if things are getting rough!
4.) When bedtime rolls around, use the same strategy as nap. Try to push for the extra 30 minutes. Chances are that baby will still wake at normal time which will be an hour earlier, according to the clock. Encourage them to sleep later by leaving them in the crib for 30 minutes for the first few days and another 30 the new few.
5.) Follow this for 3-4 days then add another 30 minutes so that you eventually have shifted their day by 1 hour.
Here is an example for a baby on 2 naps:
Remember! It takes time to adjust your child’s biological clock. They may become grumpy or a little tired but it’s for a few days until things are feeling normal again!
The most important rule is to have patience and grace! This most likely will not be adjusted within a day or two. Be patient and do your best!
As always, if you need additional help, Rest is Best Sleep Consulting is here for you!