Daylight Savings Time – Tips to Spring Forward With Babies & Toddlers
Yes, it’s that time of year again. Time ‘springs forward’ by one hour on Sunday, March 8th.
Like a good number of parents of young children (especially those with wee ones we’ve worked so hard to get into a routine and schedule), I would prefer to see annual time changes abolished, but since I can think of better things to spend my time advocating for, I do my best to live with it.
Here are some ways you can too. There are a couple of different approaches you can take, to make things a little easier (hopefully) on and with your babies & toddlers:
1. Ignore it
For those of you who have children on excellent sleep schedules already, my very best recommendation is to just dive right into using the new time. Wake them a little earlier on that first day if you would like, and then hopefully he or she will be ready for bed at their usual 7:30pm (new time) which might feel like 6:30pm to them. I rarely recommend waking a sleeping child, but in this instance, a few minutes early in the morning to set your whole day on a bit of an earlier schedule, should help. The best way to “wake” a sleeping baby is to not really rouse them yourself. By that I mean, it’s best to go and open their door or go into a room near their bedroom, and make some household noise. This way they will hopefully think they have woken on their own, naturally. It will take a few days for complete adjustment to happen, but it will!
2. Gradual Adjustment
You can also slowly introduce your baby to the new time in the week prior to the time change. Start by waking him up slightly earlier than usual (using my ‘not-really-waking-you-up’ strategy). If his usual wake time is 7:30am and bedtime is 7:30pm, make it a 7:00am waking and 7:00pm bedtime a few days before the actual time change. On Sunday, go back to 7:30pm (which will feel like 6:30pm). Since they have been going to bed at 7pm for a few nights, a 6:30pm bedtime shouldn’t be too big of a stretch. In this way, once the clocks spring forward he will already be adjusted to the new times.
Parents of Early Risers – This is a day of celebration for you!
Let your baby wake at 5:30am (example) as they normally would…it will actually be 6:30am on the ‘new clock’ and you can go about your day as you normally would, with the exception of bedtime feeling a little early for them (possibly). If this is a concern for you, just have your early riser go to bed a little later on the clock than normal, for the first few days (7:30pm for example instead of 7pm) and then 7:15pm for a few days, and finally, back to 7pm.
Hope that helps ease the transition a little bit!
Good Luck & Live Well.