By: Alanna McGinn
Daylight Saving Time and Your Baby’s Sleep Schedule
The good news is the sun is setting later in the evenings and spring is just around the corner.
The bad news is it also means that Spring Daylight Saving Time is just around the corner.
On Sunday, March 14 at 2:00 a.m. we’ll all put our clocks forward one hour once again, and if you are a mom who finally got your baby or toddler on a sleep schedule, the upcoming change can feel like a nightmare.
Thankfully, there are a few ways you can better prepare your entire family to adjust to the one hour change:
Slowly Introduce a New Wakeup Time
A few days before the time change, introduce your baby/toddler to the new time by waking up slightly earlier than usual. If your usual wake-up time is 6:30 a.m. move it to 6:00 a.m. so that the day the clocks spring forward, you will already be adjusted to the new times.
You may also want to move mealtimes, naptimes, and bedtimes ahead by one hour as well.
Stick with the Schedule You Have
If things are going well and you’re happy with your baby’s sleep schedule then keep wake up and bedtimes the same using the new adjusted time. Simply wake your child at the usual time on the Sunday morning of the change and carry on. Your kid(s) will adjust eventually, just as we do.
Expose Yourself to Natural Sunlight
The week following the time change, try to expose yourself and your child to sunlight as much as possible. The natural light and dark of our environment help synch our internal clock and circadian rhythms and will help adjust your family to the new time.
What If You’re Still Struggling?
No matter how well you prepare, sometimes sleep transitions can be a bit of a battle at bedtime and mean earlier wakings in the morning. Some tips to encourage morning sleep-ins and relaxed bedtimes are:
1) Invest in black-out blinds to keep their sleeping environment as dark as possible.
2) Get a white noise machine to help cancel out early morning bird chatter or household sounds.
3) Start teaching your toddler about bedtimes and wake times with an alarm clock. It will make it easier for him to understand and follow the schedule. (i.e. we don’t get out of bed until the clock reads ‘seven, zero, zero’).
4) Create a quiet time box filled with puzzles and books that your toddler can relax with until he falls asleep at both naptime and bedtime.
Lastly, be consistent with bedtime routines and try not to pick up any new early morning habits while everyone is adjusting to the new time.
Alanna McGinn is the Founder and Certified Sleep Consultant of Good Night Sleep Site, a global sleep consulting practice. She is the Representative and Director for the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants (IACSC) and serves on the faculty of The Family Sleep Institute. She and her husband, Mike, live in Toronto, Canada with their 3 children (1+twins!) You can follow her expert advice in national publications like Macleans, Prevention Magazine, Today’s Parent, and Huffington Post. Alanna strives in helping families (baby to adults) overcome their sleep challenges and have happy well-rested smiles in the morning. You can find out more about Alanna McGinn and how to work with a Good Night Sleep Consultant at goodnightsleepsite.com and follow Alanna and all her sleep tips on Instagram and Facebook.