It’s almost that time of year again. The time of year many parents dread….DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME!! I’ll never understand why so many states do it and others don’t, but that's life. We lived in Hawaii for three years and no time change was amazing!
Think of it as jet lag for your baby. Just like us, their bodies take time to adjust to the time change and many parents see the effect of it in their little one. I wanted to share with you guys a few options to help your baby or toddler adjust to what’s coming November 6th. For the Fall, we “fall back an hour” giving us an extra hour of sleep (in theory), but what happens for many babies, the clock says 7:00 am but their biological clock is saying 6:00 am. People without kids love this! However, people with kids are usually thinking “nooooooo!! My child is going to be all over the place!” So let’s discuss how we can better prepare them and make the transition a little smoother.
Cold Turkey- this is my favorite way of doing most things. You just rip the bandaid off and see how your child adjusts or you just ride the wave for a few days until their body clock falls in line.
Your child’s personality may have an effect during the transition if they’re a stickler for a schedule, but I always say never underestimate your child. They might just surprise you!
The week before the time change, start your morning 10 or 15 minutes later everyday until the day approaches.
Here, you’re really just shifting your schedule by 10 or 15 minutes each day, meaning everything gets pushed back by either 10 or 15 minutes depending on which route you decide to take. Nap duration and wake windows will remain the same, so this might be a good option for you and your baby.
If you are wanting to adjust by 10 minutes, you will start this six days before the time change, so that on Sunday you wake them up at their regular time and their body has had time to adjust. Remember, naps start 10 minutes later and you put them down for bed 10 minutes later as well.
Example by 10 minutes: (if looking through the mobile site, scroll to see the rest of the chart)
Current Wake time
If you wake them up 15 minutes later, then you would start on Thursday and will keep their entire schedule 15 minutes behind, so bedtime will be 15 minutes later as well. Remember to keep their nap lengths and wake windows 15 minutes behind so that they don’t get too much sleep during the day, giving you a harder time at night.
Example by 15 minutes: (if looking through the mobile site, scroll to see the rest of the chart)
Current Wake Time
If starting your day later won’t work because you find your child is waking up before their scheduled time on their own, then you can prep their biological clock by putting them down 15 minutes later each night, starting four days prior and then waking them up 15 minutes later and adjusting their schedule by 15 minutes each day until Sunday, where you would then wake them up at their usual time.
Whichever route you take, you want to remember 4 things:
Maintain consistency while they adjust
Use light and darkness to your advantage. Take them outside to help keep them awake
Maintain their bedtime routine
Give them grace. Their little bodies are adjusting so it may take some time.
**If your baby under 4 months, you may need to add a cat nap for their little bodies**