It's that time of year! The dreaded daylight savings. The positive side? Daylight savings starts each SPRING season! Goodbye winter (and goodbye record snowstorm, earthquake and ice storm here in NY). It is time to “spring forward” the clocks one hour, on March 12th. It can be a dreaded time for parents of young children because with this, comes an adjustment that does not happen immediately. But the good news is, this is the easier of the two-time changes that can be a welcome change for those who have early risers (you'll be waking up at 7am instead of the old 6am!)
There are many ways to adjust to the time change; whether you choose to start adjusting a few days prior or wait until the day of the time change. I personally would rather not plan days ahead and tackle it head on, when the clocks change. There are some things you can do to help make the transition to the new time, go a little smoother:
WAIT: My recommendation is to leave your clock alone Saturday night. Wake up Sunday morning, have breakfast, then go around your house and change your clocks. Psychologically, it will feel much better for everyone if you wait until Sunday morning to change the time.
WAKE WINDOWS: If your child's bedtime is NOT predictable (usually 0-7 months old) simply jump to the new time on Sunday night! When you're working off wake windows throughout the day and not focusing on the clock, you don't need to do anything.
TWO-NAP SCHEDULE: If your child is on a set 2-nap schedule, you are going to split the difference in times and put them down 30-minutes later than usual. This will feel 30-minutes earlier to them. So, if they nap at 9:30am normally, the day of the time change you will put them down at 10:00am. Same thing with afternoon nap, if they go to sleep at 2:00pm, you will put them down at 2:30pm instead. If bedtime is normally 7:00pm, you will put them down at 7:30pm. Do this for 3-4 days and then adjust back to the new times.
ONE-NAP SCHEDULE: If your child has one midday nap, you are going to split the difference in times and put them down 30-minutes later than usual. This will feel like 30-minutes earlier to them. If they normally nap at 12:30pm, the day of the time change you will put them down at 1:00pm. If bedtime is normally 7:00pm, you will put them down at 7:30pm. Do this for 3-4 days and then adjust back to the new bedtime.
SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN: Kids with no naps during the day, can jump right into the new time! If bedtime normally is 7:00pm, you will put them down at 8:00pm (which will feel like 7:00pm).
DAYCARES: Most likely, if your child attends daycare throughout the week, they aren't going to bother easing the kids into a new time change. This can make sleep a little wonky for young ones so the most important thing to do when you pick up your child at the end of the day, is to ask them what time your child woke from nap so you can adjust bedtime as needed. If you have a daycare who is willing to follow your schedule, talk to them Monday morning and let them know what time(s) you want them to put your child down for naps and when they can go back to their normal schedule! Every daycare is different.
GET BLACKOUT SHADES: Another tip that is helpful as we move into these spring and summer months, is to invest in blackout shades! Your child may wake up too early with the sun rising so early now in the morning and may struggle to fall asleep while it is still light outside in the evening, so darkening the room can be very helpful. Even though there are extra hours of daylight, children still need the same amount of sleep. Make sure the shades/curtains you buy are truly going to darken the room. Many products still let a fair amount of light in so some tricks you can use are:
Use painters' tape to tape the sides and top/bottom of the curtain to the wall.
Use painters' tape and trash bags on the window (I do this when traveling too).
Purchase products like Blackout EZ-Window Covers that have customizable sizes that Velcro directly to your windows (I have these on every window in our bedrooms and this is an affiliate link).
BE PATIENT. BE CONSISTENT: It may take children a bit more time to fall asleep. This is normal, since the time is different initially and they may not be as tired. Again, good news is this is the easier of the two-time changes! It usually takes about a week for children to completely adjust to the new time, some children can take up to a month. Be patient and consistent, it will happen.
If it's been longer than one week and your child is having trouble with the new time change, reach out!