How do I change my baby sleep for daylight savings?

Daylight savings time begins March 13th

It's the final countdown to daylight savings time! Making the switch to “spring forward” may seem trivial, after all it’s just one hour—but even that one hour can affect your little one's sleep.

Help your little one adjust their internal clock for an easy and smooth transition through daylight savings time.

Good news: It's just one simple change at bed time... here's how!

Starting Sunday, March 13th, clocks will be set forward one hour for daylight savings time. We can count on sunset starting at approximately 7pm and sunrise starting at approximately 7am and you can help your baby or toddler by starting to adjust their internal clocks ahead of the time change on Sunday.

Preparing your baby for the change to daylight savings time

Here's how you do it!

Starting Tuesday night March 8th, wake your baby 10 minutes earlier. This can help to reset their internal clocks and allow for naps to happen earlier in the day. Then, at bedtime, begin to put your baby down 10 minutes earlier. You can do this by comforting, singing or reading, and starting the bedtime ritual/routine 10 minutes earlier. It can also help to wake your baby from their final nap to allow for an earlier bedtime. Do this for the rest of the week, so when the time change does happen, your baby or toddler will have slowly adjusted to the new time. Continue to push bedtime 10 minutes earlier each evening for the rest of the week, so when the time change does happen, your baby will have slowly adjusted to the new time.

VOILA!

Sample Baby Sleep Schedule

For example, if your child's current bedtime is 7:00pm, the week of transition will look like this:

  • Tues. - 6:50pm bedtime
  • Wed. - 6:40pm bedtime
  • Thurs. - 6:30pm bedtime
  • Fri. - 6:20pm bedtime
  • Sat. - 6:10pm bedtime
  • Sun. - 7pm bedtime (new time-old time will be 6pm)

Do you have an early riser?

If you already have a baby who wakes early (e.g. 5-6am--yawn!), you may not want to adjust their internal clocks. Instead, you may just want to wait until we Spring Forward and let the time change reflect a new wake up time.

Baby Sleep Tips

You may notice that your child may start yawning at 5 or 6pm. Alternatively, you may notice that your baby is waking up earlier, at 6am or earlier. You can take the time to darken up your child’s room with darkening drapes, or shades, to help them to sleep a little later.

 Also, you can take this time to make some schedule/routine adjustments. For example, if your baby goes to bed on the early side and wakes early in the morning (5/6pm-5/6am) you may decide to keep her/his bedtime the same without using the 10-minute adjustments suggested above. So, if your baby goes to bed at 6pm, don’t make any adjustments and with the time change and her/his new bedtime will be 7pm. It takes about a week for a baby/toddler to adjust to the new time. Your little one may be a bit cranky, or seem more tired and may need more nap times during the day. Adjust to your child’s needs and put down for a nap 15 minutes earlier if your child seems overly tired. Otherwise, stick to your routine and keep the daytime naps the same time.

Curious about where to find darkening shades? I've compiled a list of my favorite products that will help you set up your baby's sleep environment for success. You'll find them here. For the next month, stick to your routine, and keep the daytime naps the same time and all will adjust accordingly.

Wishing you a joy-filled spring season!

Adapted from Dr. Angelique Millette's advice on How to Help your Little One Adjust to the Time Change. Angelique Millette is a parent coach, pediatric sleep consultant, pediatric sleep researcher, and lactation educator.


Photo credit: My sincere thanks to Kendra Wesley on Unsplash.