Spring Forward - How to Deal with the Time Change!
Updated: Mar 15
The days get longer while the sun shines brighter earlier and goes down later. You no longer have to dress your children in a million layers to be outside for 5 minutes!! There are so many positives about Spring! Also, in times like we are in now I will take all the little positives possible, such as embracing every puddle my child jumps in not wearing his splash pants. Okay…. truth, I am still working on embracing the messy chaos of the melting snow.
This time change is usually not a big deal, because this will mean that the baby will be waking one hour later than usual if no change to the schedule is made. Yay!! I hear all my parents dealing with early morning wakings singing.
Keep in mind, the time change doesn’t actually re-set a child’s internal clock, it simply makes the child's wake up time later by the clock. For example, on the morning of the time change your child will wake up at 7AM according to clock time, versus 6AM. In order to make your new schedule stick and work for your child, you need to make sure their sleep space is completely blacked out and there is no light coming in through the cracks of their blackout blinds. To help reset their internal clock, spend lots of time outside; sunlight helps with this. This will also help them to go to bed later if you choose to follow the later schedule, or if you adjust back to your original schedule you will be able to put them to bed a bit earlier after so much outdoor play time. The thing with this time change is, although easier to navigate, it is sometimes harder on our bodies since we are losing an hour of sleep.
Unlike the Fall Back time change, this one you adjust the day of (March 12, 2023), instead of before. There is no need to make any changes to your schedule before this date if you don’t want to. If you're the kind of person who needs more support, here’s what you can do:
Do Nothing Approach
Do not wake your child the morning of daylight savings time, and just follow their new schedule. Their schedule will be pushed one hour later, such as naps, meal times, and bedtime. As mentioned above, lots of sunshine and play time during the day and especially in the evening will help this new schedule stick and reset their internal clock!
Give it a couple days with this new schedule. If you are finding on your child’s new later schedule they are still achieving the same amount of hours of sleep as before and you know that this is enough sleep for them - great! Time change success! No need to change anything else, and continue to enjoy your later schedule!
If you find your child has lost sleep on this new schedule, because they are now waking up later in the morning, but going to bed too late so they are experiencing signs of over tiredness such as your child is waking up crying in the morning now, or your once beautiful sleeper is now waking up throughout the night… then move to the Schedule Adjustment Approach to see if you can achieve longer nighttime sleep.
Schedule Adjustment Approach
If your child is sensitive to sleep, this may be the best approach for you to take the day of time change. Some parents also may be inclined to adjust their child schedule back to their previous schedule due to work, daycare, or any other family obligations, and may want to do this before Sunday - that is okay too.
On Sunday (the day of time change) wake up your child no later than 8 AM (7am old time) to help reset their schedule.
Shift your child’s entire schedule (meals, naps, bedtime) 10-15 minutes earlier every day, until you have reached the full hour and your child is back to their original schedule. This will take about 4 - 7 days until until you see your schedule that you are use to and your child is able to tolerate their old schedule again.
If your baby can tolerate longer shifts you can even shift their schedule by 20-30 minutes earlier, which you will be able to adjust their schedule sooner. Example of this is below.
Example Schedule for a baby on 3 naps (9am, 1pm, 3:30pm), morning wake time 7am, bedtime at 7pm adjusting by 30 minutes.
(Old Clock Time)
(New Clock Time)
Monday & onward
Things to Remember:
-Black out the room. The sun will shine earlier and sometimes a little bit of light will be enough for your child to start having some early morning wakings.
-Get outside to reset everyones internal clock to help your body adjust to the new schedule. I mean everyone, parents, siblings, and other caregivers too!
-Be aware of the amount of sleep your child is getting in a 24 hour period and their age appropriate wake times to avoid over-tiredness.
-Be patient. Some children fly through this time change like it didn’t even happen. Some children struggle with the change, but after a week things should be back to normal!
-Most importantly - adjust to the schedule that works best for your family!
The good news is the adjustment period should last less than a week, and you will fall back into your blissful routine. If your little ones need a nudge to get there, that's okay too. Remember...
You’ve got this!
Happy Spring!! I am off to (maybe?) embrace puddle jumping!
If you would like to schedule a 15 minute free Discovery Call to find out more about how I can help your family nurture healthy sleep don’t hesitate to reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org