The good news is that kids eventually learn to roll with the punches. But in the meantime, joke's on you while you make this twice-yearly transition, and you may rightly fear you're in for days, maybe even weeks of bedtime battles and morning family fights. But there are things you can do to ease the daylight saving transition for your kids, at any age.
How did your toddler or baby do during the last daylight saving change? How does he do when you miss a nap, go through a sleep regression or stay up too late at night?
If you have a child where the proverbial wheels fall off when messing with sleep, then it’s definitely in your best interest to take it slow leading up the change.
Also remember that the younger the baby, the easier your baby becomes overtired. So a good rule is that if your baby is less than 6 months old, don't do anything too drastic that will cause a lot of other issues such as night wakings, shorter naps or an earlier than normal wake up.
To help make the adjustment slow and steady leading up to daylight saving time, you can slowly adjust your child's schedule in hope they will be right on target on the day the time changes.
Over the course of the week before the spring change, you can start shifting your child's schedule earlier by 15 minutes every three days. So a nap at 8:45 a.m. will start at 8:30 a.m., and a bedtime that's 7 p.m. starts at 6:45. Or, if you're grappling with a fall change, make the adjustment for later: that 8:45 a.m. nap now starts at 9, the 7 p.m. bedtime begins at 7:15.
By the end of the week, you will be close to the newly adjusted bedtimes, naptimes, and waking times, right on time for the clocks to change.
If you have an easygoing type of baby, then don’t stress the prep. You can put your child down at their normal times by the clock and they will automatically adjust without too much of a noticeable difference. Follow their lead -- You know your child best!
On the Sunday the time changes, you can try putting your children down for their naps earlier or later by 1/2 hour by the clock (8:30 a.m. vs. 8 a.m. in the spring, 7:30 instead of 8 in the fall) and by the end of the day, your child may be adjusted to her new schedule and may fall asleep at an earlier/later bedtime with a "by the clock" time that better matches your usual sleep times. Do the same on Monday and if all goes well, you'll have weathered the change quickly. After the two days, put your baby to bed at the usual times by the clock.
1. If you have blackout shades for your child, they will come in very handy during daylight savings transition times. If you see more light in the evening or morning than you're used to, the shades may help. Don’t let light be the reason your child won't fall asleep or wakes up too early.
2. That being said, light will also help reset your child's body clock during either daylight savings transition time, so let a shot of light in first thing in the morning if you can, and restrict light around bedtime.
3. If your older child uses a tot clock, you can set the new time on the clock with the plan that it's time to get up when the clock turns green.
4. If on the first day after the change, your baby wakes later or earlier than you expect, don't worry, just enjoy any extra "me" time you get. It might take a few days for baby to adjust to the new time.
Don’t let daylight saving time get in the way with living life. A few things to remember:
Daylight saving time is something we have to go through, regardless if you have a "go with the flow" or "wheels fall off" child.
Take note how your child adjusts and remember it when you have to decide how to adjust again during the next transition. Maybe daylight saving time changes will be easy for you. Maybe you'll be the lucky one, and your child will adapt with no problem. I hope that mine do!
Susie Parker is a Certified Sleep Consultant and founder of Sleep Baby Love, Infant and Child Sleep Consulting. When Susie’s not ridding the world of sleepless families, you can find her on Facebook, Pinterest or via email at email@example.com.