It’s almost time to “spring forward” into daylight saving time! If the thought of disrupting your child’s sleep routine is making you feel anxious, take a deep breath. I’ve got you covered! Remember, this is the easier of the two time changes!

What to Expect

On Sunday, March 10th at 2:00 am, we will move the clocks forward 1 hour (unless you live in Phoenix like I do, and then, you don’t have to deal with all this nonsense!). Your child’s 6:00 am wake-up will now be 7:00 am! Yay for you parents of early risers (at least temporarily)!

This time change may come with a few challenges, especially for those of you with young babies or sensitive sleepers. Check out my step-by-step advice on how to help your little one adjust in advance or after the time change. Let’s get started! 

The Benefits of Daylight Saving Time

More sunlight. Longer days. More outside fun. 

It’s that time of year again…the start of spring and daylight saving time. This means it’s time for my top sleep tips to help with the time change challenge!

Daylight savings starts in the United States and Canada on Sunday, March 10, 2024, at 2:00 am. What this means is when we set the clocks forward 1 hour, we’ll be putting our children to bed 1 hour earlier than they are used to. This may not be without its challenges! With these “spring forward” tips, you’ll get several options for how to navigate the change.

The good news is the springtime change is the easier of the two to navigate. This time change has a lot less of an impact on sleep. For those with early birds, this is a welcomed change for an extra hour of sleep (at least temporarily)!

Depending on your children’s sleep habits, there are a few options on how you can handle the spring-forward daylight saving time change.

Situation #1: Early Risers 

Given that we are pushing the clock forward, the first few days of the daylight saving “spring forward” transition may make bedtime more difficult. If your child normally goes to bed at 7:00 pm, after the time changes, they are going to sleep at 6:00 pm (according to their body). This means that your little one may not be tired at bedtime, which can cause some bedtime battles.  

This transition usually takes less than a week, so stay patient and know that their bodies will adjust gradually. 

If your child is an early bird, stay on the same schedule and enjoy the later wake time, at least for a few days. Some children are programmed to naturally wake early and in this case, your little one’s body will naturally adjust back to their earlier wake time. Sorry! 

In some cases, if your child has been waking REALLY early, this may help them to transition to a later wake time moving forward. Reinforce this change with complete darkness in the morning hours, and you may be able to help the later wake-up stick. 

Situation #2: Late Sleepers 

For kiddos who typically have a later bedtime, the time change may result in a later wake time. If your child is a sensitive sleeper and doesn’t easily adjust to sleep schedule changes, the time change may push their wake time too late, resulting in missing their ideal sleep window.

In these two situations, the best way to prepare for the time change is to adjust your child’s wake-up time and schedule gradually, by 15 minutes each day leading up to the time change. 

Adjusting Your Child’s Wake-Up Time

Here’s an outline of how to do it:

Thursday, March 7th

  • Wake your child 15 minutes earlier than their usual time. 
  • For example, if your child wakes at 7:00 am normally, wake them at 6:45 am. 
  • Shift naps and feedings earlier by 15 minutes – if your baby goes down for a nap at noon, put them down for their nap at 11:45 am on the first day.
  • Put your child down for bed 15 minutes earlier than usual. A 7:00 pm bedtime will be a 6:45 pm bedtime on the first night.

Friday, March 8th 

Follow the guidelines above, shifting the entire schedule earlier by 15 minutes.

Saturday, March 9th

Follow the guidelines above, shifting the entire schedule earlier by 15 minutes.

Sunday, March 10th

Wake your child by 7:00 am if they are still sleeping. Resume your child’s usual schedule, with the same daily wake, nap, feedings, and bedtimes as before the time change.

Easy Baby 

If you have a baby with an easy temperament, there’s no need to make any advanced changes. Simply wake your baby at 7:00 am on Sunday, March 10. I realize this won’t give you that extra hour of sleep that you may be longing for, but it will get your baby on track for the new time change. Then, you can either follow wake windows if your baby is 6 months or younger. (Remember: your baby’s sleep windows are typically fairly short, especially if your baby is young. Stay on top of sleep windows, so your baby has an easier time falling asleep and staying asleep.)

If your baby is older than 6 months, you can follow the clock (it’s still a good idea to keep your eye on wake windows to avoid baby getting overtired!). Keep naps and feeds on track with the new time change, and your baby should adjust fairly easily. You may have a few days to a week where your baby feels slightly off, but it should be short-lived. 

Extra Tips to Implement

Darken the Room

  • If your little one’s room isn’t dark yet, now is the time to do it! 
  • As we head into spring, we don’t want our kiddos to wake up with the sun.
  • We don’t want bedtime to be a battle, because it’s still light out when they’re going to bed.
  • More than any other time of year, it is so important to create a cave-like sleep environment for your little ones for both day and nighttime sleep. 

Cool the Room 

  • As temperatures start to heat up, if you don’t have AC in your home, you may need to purchase an air conditioning unit. I highly recommend that you do!
  • I recommend this portable AC unit
  • Remember: Proper sleeping temperature is 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. A room that’s too warm is going to keep your baby or toddler from getting the deep sleep they need. This will result in difficulty going to sleep and staying asleep. This can easily be avoided by purchasing a portable AC unit for all the bedrooms in your home. 

Have Patience

  • The time change can have us all feeling “off” for a few days because our natural rhythms are being altered.

Go Outside

  • Use the sun to your benefit – exposure to 30 minutes of sun first thing in the morning will help to reset internal clocks to the time change.
  • Play outside during the day. Burning off energy during the day makes for an extra tired kiddo at bedtime. You can also roughhouse if the weather doesn’t permit getting outdoors. 

Be Mindful of Lighting

  • Dim the lights – keep the lights dim in the hour before bedtime. This will help your child to regulate melatonin and adjust to feeling tired at the new bedtime. 
  • Watch blue light exposure – avoid bright screens (TV, tablet, phone) or bright indoor light during the hour leading to bed.

Maintain Routines 

  • Keep sleep, feeding, and other routines consistent, maintaining the same timing (unless noted above).

We hope these daylight savings tips are helpful! If you need customized help with this transition or any other sleep challenges, please schedule a sleep evaluation to talk about working together!

10 Simple Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep Better Tonight

These tips are simple, easy to implement, and created to help your baby slowly step into a healthy, secure relationship with sleep!

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