“Daylight Saving Time is my favorite time of year!” -no parent ever.

Daylight Saving is not easy without children. When you put kids in the mix, it’s a whole new ballgame. As a parent, you are not only responsible for adjusting to this new time, but your little ones might need some assistance as well. Thankfully, springing forward does give us more daylight which I personally LOVE! Being able to stay outdoors longer is so good for the soul. It’s also a great way to get the extra energy out for your little ones.

However, there can be a negative effect for a few days to a few weeks. Anything that disrupts the normal day/night (circadian) rhythm can lead to sudden sleep problems… which includes moving the clocks ahead for daylight saving time. No need to stress or worry over this. I have provided 2 solutions to make this time change more bearable.

There are two approaches that you can take for dealing with sleep and Daylight Saving: do nothing or plan ahead. There is no right way. So, if you are reading this and the time changes tomorrow, well, you are right on track for option 1! Do these options apply if you have a newborn? What about a baby who is still doing several naps a day? Keep reading…I have your answers.

If you have a newborn, no need to panic. Daylight Saving will probably affect you the least. Until your child is on a 2-nap schedule (around 6 months), I recommend still paying close attention to his awake windows and your child’s sleep cues as your guide. No need to stress or prepare. When your baby wakes up the morning of the time change, simply go about your day as you normally would, using those wake windows to put your little one down at the appropriate time. If you need a simple guide for Awake Windows, click on the link for help Awake Window Guide. Your baby will eventually adjust to the new time change within a week. You can try to push his awake window by a few minutes as long as he doesn’t become overtired.

If your child is not doing 2 naps a day, follow the above advice by focusing on awake windows.

If you are a “fly by the seat of your pants” person, this option might suit you best! Sometimes just thinking about planning for this time change can be stressful in itself, so sit back and relax and let nature take its course.

On the day of, simply go about your day. You will want to be aware that your little one will be tired later than normal and you might have to adjust naps and bedtimes a bit. Eventually, they will adjust to the new time change within a few days/weeks.

If you are worried that sleep might get interrupted because you have worked so hard to get your baby on a great path of sleep, this option is for you. I will use a 7 am-7 pm schedule with 2 naps at 10 am and 2 pm for a simple example. You will push everything backward by 15 minutes each day until you reach Day 4 which would be the day that you wake up with the new time.

Some children are more sleep sensitive than others, so your option might be to adjust the time even more precisely and use 10-minute increments. Sometimes even 5 minutes can make a difference over a few days. If you are using that strategy, you will start 5 days (Tuesday) before the time change instead of 3 days (Thursday). Another possibility would be to push everything by 30 minutes. If you chose to do this, you would start the day before (Saturday). However, sometimes this can be too big of a change for children (especially if they are younger than a year). The choice is up to you! In this example, we will use the 15-minute strategy.

Here is an easy-to-follow guide you can refer to:

Assure that you have blackout blinds or curtains so that the early morning light won’t affect their sleep. If a sliver of light comes though, this could cause them to wake up unnecessarily.

Get your child outside in the morning and again in the evening so that their circadian rhythm can reset and adjust to the new time.

You can continue doing your bedtime routine to cue them for sleep. If you don’t have a bedtime routine, now is the time to start. Download my free Bedtime Routine or Toddler Bedtime Routine Cards for further guidance.

If you have never sleep trained before, and you are ready now, you can use Daylight Saving to your advantage with the new time change. If you don’t know whether you are ready to sleep train your child, check out my blog When is the Right Time to Sleep Train?

If you have tried these things above and need some extra guidance, I’m here for you. If your child hasn’t adjusted after a few weeks and you need additional guidance, feel free to reach out for help. Maybe you need to make a small adjust but don’t know where to start. Maybe you just need reassurance that what you are doing and what your child is doing is normal. I’ve helped many families during this time and I can help you too!
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