Daylight saving time begins Sunday, allowing for an extra hour of daylight (with the exception of Arizona and Hawaii and a few territories).
The time officially changes at 2 a.m. on Sunday.
It can be a dreaded event for parents because children tend to be more structured in their bedtime and wake up around the same time each morning, which is why people usually see a greater affect on children when the time changes.
For parents, the idea of the time change is usually a source of frustration and messed up schedules for our kiddos sleep.
The good news is that of the two times a year we adjust to the time change, spring forward is actually the better option for those of us with kids. Although most people disagree due to the fact that we technically lose an hour of sleep, our little ones wont be waking an hour earlier (like with the end of DST in November). I’d call that a win!
There are some simple steps you can take to help make the transition to the new time go a little smoother. Since most of our electronics will automatically change the time early Sunday morning while we sleep, when you wake just go about your morning and then change the remaining clocks in your house.
Children (4 years and up)
My best advice for children to help with the time change is to split the difference between the old time and the new time. How does that work? If you have a child that does not nap and normally goes to bed at 7:00pm, you would put him to bed at 7:30pm on Sunday night, the first night of the time change. Do this for 3 nights, putting him to bed 30 minutes later than normal, then on the 4th night do your normal bedtime of 7:00pm (or whatever your child’s normal bedtime is).
Toddlers (14 months – 3 years)
If you have a toddler ages 14 months and older, on Sunday the first day of the time change you would put her down for nap time 30 minutes later than normal. So, if she usually naps at 12:30pm then you will begin nap time at 1:00pm. You will do the same for bedtime. Do this for 3 nights after the time change and then on the 4th night, put your toddler to bed at her usual bedtime and on the 5th day move nap time back to normal time.
Infants (6-12 months)
If you have a baby whose bedtime and naps have become predictable (usually over 6 months old) meaning he is always napping and going to bed around the same time each night then you will adjust those sleep times by 30 minutes . For example, if you child naps at 9:30 and 2:00pm with a 7:00pm bedtime then you will adjust those times 30 minutes later ( 10:00am, 2:30pm, and 7:30pm) for the first 3 days, then on the 4th day jump back to your usual time.
If your baby is not on a predictable schedule (0-6 months) simply jump to the new time on Sunday as if you were traveling to a new time zone. Babies not on a set time schedule, adjust easily to this time change.
How to prepare your child’s room?
With spring forward we get longer daylight which is nice for outside time to play in the evenings! However don’t forget that this means there will still be daylight when it is time for bed. This is another reason why black out curtains are SO important for a child’s room. We all sleep best in a really, really, DARK environment. So take another look at your child’s room and make sure there is no light peaking through the curtains unless you want them to rise with the sun. No thank you!
Things to remember…
It may take your child a bit more time to fall asleep, this is normal, since the time is different initially they wont be as tired. It usually takes about a week for children and babies to completely adjust to the new time and for some children it can take up to a month. Be patient and consistent, and it will happen. However if your child struggled with night wakings, early wakings, and naps prior to the time change reach out to us here to see how we can help.
Here are some easy to follow guides for adjusting your child’s nap and bedtime schedules over the 4 days after the time change, beginning on Sunday.