Adapted from The Happy Sleeper by Heather Turgeon, MFT and Julie Wright, MFT
We big people know that Spring Forward is the one that robs us of an entire weekend hour – not our fav! However, keep reading as there may be a silver lining for your baby. . . Before you go to bed on Saturday night, March 7th, turn your clocks forward one hour.There are 2 different ways to approach helping your baby make the time change.
JUMP RIGHT TO THE NEW TIME
You can have your child simply jump to the new time. This often works just fine for older kids, who might feel a little groggy for a few days while they adjust. After a nice routine, put your child to bed at the new time Sunday evening.
SHIFT YOUR BABY GRADUALLY
Another approach is to anticipate the change and help your baby gradually shift to the new time. Babies tend to have a slightly harder time with the change than older kids.
Once Sunday rolls around, what used to be 6:00 p.m. will now be 7:00 p.m., so your baby will be less sleepy at bedtime. Adjust sleep times a little earlier each day in anticipation.
STEPS FOR SHIFTING YOUR BABY GRADUALLY:
- If your baby’s schedule is just where you want it, you’ll help her adjust to the new time gradually, by moving her bedtime and naps about 15 minutes earlier each day leading up to Sunday. This works best if you start 4 – 7 days in advance.
- If your baby’s current schedule is off and the time change will help (for example, it’s spring and you want him to go to bed an hour later), you’re in luck. You will be able to shift your baby immediately to the new time. It will still be very important to pay attention to blocking out daylight and keeping bedtime and naptime routines consistent.
- If your baby’s schedule is off in a direction where the time change will make it even worse (it’s spring and you want her to go to bed an hour earlier), adjust gradually to the new time and then continue until you’ve reached the desired bedtime.. Make sure that you have blackout shades or curtains, for a very dark room in the morning.
- If your baby hasn’t completely adjusted by the time daylight savings time arrives, no worries; just continue the adjustment during the next few days.
Remember routines and environment. Keep bedtime and naptime routines in place and predicable. For springing back, it will be especially important to keep your pleasurable, relaxing, age appropriate routine in place. All that effort and consistency will pay off now, as these cues help your baby adjust to the new time. Also make baby’s room very dark. Light creeping in earlier in the morning or lingering into the summer evening can add to baby’s challenge to adjust to the new time.
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