Daylight Saving Time is right around the corner, March 8, 2020.
Did you know that Daylight Saving Time originally intended to move us toward “summer time” and allow us to use the sunlight hours better?
While shifting the clock gives us extra light in our day, it does tend to wreak havoc on the body, especially for families that have children under the age of 2.
Spring forward happens when you are in the middle of one of these sleep scenarios:
- Sleep is in place you just taught your little one the skill of how to sleep on their own
- Your little one is already a sleeping well, and now it’s going to shift things around
- Sleep, what’s that? We are up through out the night many times, and now you are going to add daylight saving time to it so the clocks spring forward. For the love, when can a parent rest?
Whatever the sleep scenario in your home is, it tends to shift things up for children and adults alike for a week or so.
Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 2:00 am and we will turn our clocks one hour ahead. This can also be a good time to remember to change out the batteries in your fire alarms around the house as well.
Sleep tips for Daylight Saving Time:
- Be sure your child gets in some good naps so that they don’t become overtired when the time changes.
- Bedtime will feel earlier since it is an hour earlier.
- Get outside in the fresh air and sunshine first thing in the morning for at least 30 minutes. This can help the body adjust to the time change and it helps improve sleep all around.
- Allow more outside time than usual on the day of the time change to help wear your child out so they are more likely to be tired for naps and bedtime. Think about tiring them out with physical activity and being outdoors. With infants do some extra floor time. Toddlers can enjoy a long walk pushing or pulling their favorite toys. Preschoolers can enjoy taking their stuffed animals for a wagon ride. Going to the park to get physical activity to so that your child can climb, slide, push and pull can be an option. Of course these are great activities for children everyday, but just think of doing a little more the day of the time change to help them use their energy.
The first approach to daylight saving time transition:
Do nothing, keep bedtime the same.
Put your child to sleep at the regular bedtime. Then, go ahead and move your clock one hour ahead. Hopefully your child’s body clock is already set so if they normally wake at 6am in the morning, now it will be 7am on the new time. This can really work in your favor especially if you have an early riser. Then on Sunday, continue your regular routine on the new time.
At bedtime put your child down at their normal bedtime so if your child normally use to have a 7pm bedtime they might not be as tired because it’s actually 6pm on the old time. Again, our children don’t understand time and clocks and how all of this works. Being intentional about being physically active so that your child can get more tired will help make this transition easier. Be patient and flexible. You might even consider using the shuffle or other gentle sleep methods to help your baby or toddler fall asleep.
Usually it takes a little less than week to transition with this approach.
The second approach to daylight saving time transition:
split the time difference.
This can be helpful if your child has a little more difficult time or is sensitive to transitions. You can start this approach about a week before the official time change. So you’ll plan to split the difference for bedtime. Here’s what that might look like. If bedtime is normally 7pm, shift it to 7:30pm for the NEW time. This will be helpful that you’re not throwing your child off by the entire hour. You’ll be gradually making the shift. If your child is going down for their afternoon nap at 12:30pm, then put them down at 1:00pm while making the transition. Be sure to adjust meal times too.
The goal of course with either approach is to get your child back on track to their regular bedtime! And whatever approach you use, really allow for about 5-7 days for your child to make the transition. Some children may need two weeks to get back on track.
You are your child’s best expert. So only you know the best way to make springing forward an easy transition for your family.
One last thought:
Change your mind about Daylight Saving Time!
What we think and what we say can affect our parenting more than we know. One thing I hear more than anything during this season is the blame because of the “dreaded time change.” And while it is hard on the body there is evidence of that, it can be helpful to adjust our perspective and more importantly the words we speak.
Here are some words and thoughts on how you could reframe it and shift your mindset around daylight saving time:
- The good news is that I’ll be able to enjoy some extra sunshine.
- Thank goodness for black out shades to help my little one sleep while there is light outside.
- In a week or two, this too shall pass.
- My child no longer wakes up before 6am.
Hopefully this gets you started thinking and saying things that are more encouraging and affirming. Your perspective can change everything.
Do you have sleep questions or concerns for your 6 year old or younger child? Set up a time on my calendar for us to talk to help your get sleep in your home gently!
Sweet dreams springing forward!