Every time the clock changes for the start or end of Day Light Saving Time ( I have a separate blog for end of DLS), parents collectively groan. But, I’m here to tell you it COULD BE A GOOD THING. Here are three ways to handle the onset of DLS.
- Celebrate!!! because your EARLY waker now wakes an hour later. Let me explain – the clocks spring forward, but your little one’s internal clock does not. Therefore, their old 5:30 am wake is now 6:30 am on the clock. If you can get through the loss of YOUR hour of sleep that day, the rest of your days ahead will feel better with the time change. Just remember to keep their bedtime the same by putting them to bed and hour “earlier” on the new time so that they keep their same schedule.
Current Schedule: bedtime at 7:30 pm, wakes at 5:30 am
New Schedule since DLS clock change: bedtime at 8:30 pm, wakes at 6:30 am (forward 1 hour)
Notice that the clock time changed, but not your child’s circadian rhythm/biological clock.
By the way, if you aren’t on a great schedule, or you’d like help with having such an early waker (5:30 am is not the way it has to be), start by reviewing my Baby & Toddler Sleep Cheatsheet. It’s a great place to check to see if your child’s routine is biologically average to expect.
Click on the image below for your FREE copy.
2. Make the transition gradual, moving the schedule 15-20 minutes over several days. What this looks like is waking your child 15 minutes early and putting them to bed 15 minutes early for the 4 days leading up to Sunday, when Day Light Savings starts.
Current Schedule: 8 pm bedtime, 7 am wake time
Thursday wake kids at 6:45 am, do bedtime at 7:45 pm. Friday wake kids at 6:30 am, do bedtime at 7:30 pm. Saturday wake kids at 6:15 am, do bedtime at 7:15 pm. Sunday wake kids at 7 am (will feel like 6 am to them), do bedtime at 8 pm (will feel like 7 pm).
Use lots of exercise and limit screen-time/artificial lights in the afternoons and evenings to support their circadian rhythm.
Click below to watch my Facebook LIVE video on this topic.
3. Change your child’s schedule all at once and ride the rollercoaster for 4-5 days. This might be an option if your child doesn’t have a good set schedule, or they are too young to be on a solid schedule (under 3 months old) or if your child is a teen.
This simply means waiting until the first time that the clock change will effect them and see what happens. Maybe waking them early one day won’t be an issue, since you can do a nap during the day with them, or maybe it will throw them for a loop. Either way, hold the new schedule for 4-5 days until things settle into a routine in their bodies.
I’m not a fan of #3, but it’s an option. And, as their parent, you know best.
Whatever you decide, it’ll be ok. And, soon enough, I’ll see you in the fall when we change our clocks again. And, if you need support in the meantime, please reach out!
Your personal baby & toddler sleep coach,