You know you’re a parent when you start thinking (or worrying) about how daylight-saving time (DST) on Sunday, March 10th is going to interfere with your baby or toddler’s sleep. Fear not! With a solid plan, you can sail through DST with minimal disruption to your child’s sleep.
Daylight Savings Time Starts on Sunday, March 10th at 2am. We will move our clocks forward one hour. This means 6am is now 7am – and 7pm is really 8pm.
- Plan ahead. About 7 to 9 days before the time change, start shifting your baby’s nap and bedtime by 15 minutes earlier every few days. For example, if your baby goes down for a nap at 1 p.m. every day, put him down at 12:45 p.m. for a few days, and then at 12:30 p.m. for a few days, and then at 12:15 p.m. for a few days. That way, on the day of the time change and beyond, when you put him down for a nap at his usual 1:00 p.m. naptime, he has no problem falling asleep because you prepared ahead of time. Do the same with bedtime, and be sure to move mealtimes up accordingly as well.
- Adopt the new clock immediately. If your baby normally takes a 9 a.m. nap, on March 10 (and beyond), put her down for a nap at 9 a.m. If your toddler normally goes to bed at 7 p.m., put him to bed at 7 p.m. Don’t overthink it—on the day of the time change abandon the old clock and embrace the new one right away.
- Start the day no later than 7:30 a.m. While DST may be the only day of the year when your child actually sleeps in, allowing her to do so beyond 7:30 a.m. can throw her sleep schedule off for days to come. In most cases, it’s not worth it. Got an early riser? Set awake for the day no earlier than 6:30 a.m. On the morning of the time change and every day after, wait until 6:30 a.m. to get your baby. Being consistent with this wake time can help improve early rising.
- Install blackout shades. Longer, brighter days are glorious; bedtime battles are not. Blackout shades block the sunlight from entering their room so they can drift off to dreamland even when bedtime is at 6:30 p.m. (If blackout shades are still on your to-do list, you can create a temporary solution by hanging black construction paper or tinfoil with painters’ tape over the windows—of course be sure that all parts are out of your child’s reach.)
- Get outside. Sunlight naturally helps set the body’s internal clock. On the day of DST, try to get outside at least twice—ideally before and after lunch. If you have a baby, place her play mat in a sunny spot by a window.
There’s no need to lose sleep over the time change because following these steps can help rapidly reset your child’s internal clock. Have your baby sleeping better in no time! And the best part is, Mamas, DST means that spring is just around the corner!
By Carolynne J. Harvey – Sleep Expert, Author of “Dream Baby Nights©” & Founder of Dream Baby Sleep®
About Dream Baby Sleep
Dream Baby Sleep® is a loving group of certified experts who are successfully teaching families how to create and maintain healthy sleep. By studying the temperament of your baby, parenting style and family dynamic we’re able to draw from all sleep training methods available to improve sleep. If you have additional sleep questions feel free to schedule a free 15-minute sleep consultation by visiting www.dreambabysleep.com/scheduler.