Spring is just around the corner and that means it’s time to change the clocks. Most of us will “spring forward” this weekend for Daylight Savings Time, which has parents asking “what does that mean for my baby’s sleep”?
The good news is that the Spring time change is usually more beneficial for sleep training than the Fall time change. If you have a little one who tends to wake earlier than you’d prefer, like 5:30 am, that wake up time is now going to be 6:30 am. To your baby, it still feels like 5:30, but your clock will say 6:30. Make sense? Good.
So, now you’re probably wondering how to adjust your baby’s routine to take advantage of the time change. Well, your window of opportunity is short. After a few days, your baby will adjust to the new time, so it’s important to help your baby make the most of the time change.
There are two ways to handle DST. The first is to just make the switch cold turkey style. If your baby’s bedtime is 7:30 pm, you can change the clocks on Sunday evening and put your baby to bed at the new 7:30 (which feels like 6:30 pm). If your baby isn’t ready for sleep, you can put her to bed at 8:30 (which feels like her good ole’ 7:30 pm). The next morning, you should wake your baby at her regular time, say 7:00 am (which feels like 6:00 am). Now you should follow your regular routine according to the new time. By the second or third night, you and your baby will adjust to the time change.
The other way to adjust your baby’s bedtime is to do it slowly over the next few days. Start backing up your baby’s bedtime by 15-30 minutes each day until you’ve reached the new time (so you’re backing it up one hour). So, if 8:00 pm is bedtime at your house, you’ll need to work on getting to a 7:00 pm bedtime because once DST happens, what feels like 7 pm will now be 8 pm on the clock. The next morning, be sure to wake your baby at her regular start time, like 7:30 am (which feels like 6:30 am).
Alternatively, you could just change the clocks and change your child’s bedtime to be an hour later than usual, which means the same would apply for your morning start time, feedings, and naps. The baby wouldn’t feel any different, only the number on the clock would change. For example, if 7:00 pm is bedtime now, next week it would be 8:00 pm.
The time change is really helpful if you have a baby or toddler who tends to wake earlier than you’d like and has trouble going back to sleep. The baby who likes to start her day at 5:30 am will now be getting up at 6:30, which is a much more reasonable start time.
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