Daylight Savings: Tips to Successfully Spring Forward

Daylight Savings: Didn’t We Just Do This?

My son reminded me yesterday that it is almost time to change the clocks. “Didn’t we JUST do that?” he asked. Yes, it does feel like we all just recovered from “falling back” and yet it is time to “spring forward”! Good news:  while we adults lose an hour of sleep (I know, who even has an extra hour to lose?), our little ones might “sleep later” based on what the clock says. They are not actually gaining an hour of sleep, but if your child typically wakes at 6:00am, when they wake on Sunday the clock will read 7:00am! Already, that feels like a win!

Here are my tips to successfully “Spring Forward!”

Option 1, Wing It: If you have a good sleep schedule in place, on the day of DLS, just go about your day as the clock says. You may want to let your child sleep in, but it is best to wake him a bit earlier in the morning in order to preserve nap times and bedtime for the day. Follow the new clock times for both your meals and sleep schedule.

  • Follow the same routine each day
  • Make sure meals, naps and bedtime occur at the same as before the change (based on the clock!)

Option 2, The Gradual Adjust: If you feel like you want to prepare, start 3-6 days ahead of time and move everything in your child’s schedule gradually earlier. Make sure make wake ups, naptime and pre-sleep routines are earlier, as well as your actual lights out at bedtime.

  • Begin to adjust the clock a few days ahead of the clock change (choose 3 or 6 days)
  • For 3 days: Begin to wake your child 20 minutes earlier each morning. If they usually wake at 7:00am, wake them at 6:40am. Also, start your bedtime routine and put your baby to sleep 20 minutes earlier each night. A 7:00pm bedtime, becomes 6:40pm on Night 1, and so on.
  • For 6 days: Begin to wake your child 10 minutes earlier each morning. If they usually wake at 7:00am, wake them at 6:50am. Start your bedtime routine and put your baby to sleep 10 minutes earlier each night. A 7:00pm bed becomes 6:50pm on Night 1, and so on.
  • For naps: follow the plan above, starting 10-20 earlier minutes each day.

By the time we change the clocks, you should be right on time!

Tips for Everyone:

  • Stay Consistent. Start your routine about 30 minutes prior to bedtime and follow the same routine each night. Your child will recognize these signals for bedtime, and his body will also understand these signs and begin to prepare for sleeping. Make sure your routine is calming and soothing in order to help your little one wind down at the end of the day.
  • Wake your child (what?!!). If your child is still napping, we want to preserve those nap times. Waking him by 7-7:30am each morning, will help to maintain quality naps.
  • Use room darkening shades. It might not be dark outside by bedtime, so these shades will help keep out the light and create a conducive sleep environment.
  • Gets lots of natural light exposure and outdoor play time in the afternoon.
  • Wind down prior to bedtime and make sure you choose calm, quiet activities in the hour leading up to bedtime.
  • Be patient. Often our body’s internal clock takes a few days to adjust.
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