It’s that time again! Our clocks spring forward on March 9th.
What does this mean for our children?
Once the time officially changes, it would look as though they are going to bed later and sleeping later.
They potentially “lose” an hour of sleep during the night on Saturday night.
Their little bodies can take as long as two weeks to adjust.
Fortunately, there are a few things we can do to help transition a little more smoothly!
TIP #1: Wait until Sunday morning to change your clocks
Don’t lose an hour of your sleep! “Lose” a little of your day instead. It’s easier on everyone if you wake up, have some coffee and breakfast, then change the clocks and get moving. Did I mention coffee? Yes, Sundays are especially busy for many families, but a little planning ahead can relieve some stress from that lost hour.
Tip #2: Split the difference with the old and new time
Essentially, take the time change slowly in your house. It can take our bodies a week or two to truly adjust. So based on the age of your children, follow the suggestion below that matches your kid(s) age:
Children with No Nap
For an older child who does not nap, you would put them to bed half an hour later than normal. This means If bedtime is 7:00PM, they’ll go to bed at 7:30PM on Sunday night. After three nights have passed, you will move bedtime back to the original time. Your child will now be back to the normal 7:00 bedtime by Wednesday night!
If you have a toddler or child on one nap, you will put them down for their nap 30 minutes later than normal. So, if nap is normally at 12:00PM, you would put them down at 12:30PM for three days starting on Sunday.
The same is true for bedtime. If bedtime is normally 7:00PM, you will put them to bed at 7:30PM for three days. By Wednesday, naps and bedtime will be back to normal at 12:00PM and 7:00PM, or whatever your normal routine times may be.
If your baby’s naps and bedtimes are more predictable and established (usually six months and older), you will move bedtimes and naps in 15 minute increments. If your child naps at 9:00AM, Day 1 naptime (Sunday) would be at 9:45AM, Day 2 would be at 9:30AM, Day 3 would be at 9:15AM, and Day 4 would be back to 9:00AM.
Bedtimes would change in the same way. A normal bedtime of 7:00PM would change to 7:45PM, 7:30PM, 7:15PM and then back to 7:00PM on Day 4.
If naps and bedtimes are NOT predictable (0-6 months old), go ahead and adjust immediately. Use appropriate awake times as your guide for nap and nights. If you need help determining an appropriate wake time for your baby, you can access my 3-6 Months Sleep Guide.
Note for Toddlers/School-Aged Children
If your child relies on a clock to know when morning has arrived, adjust half an hour for a couple of nights. They will be waking later than normal, but your child will adjust with time (generally around a week or two).
Most children adjust within the first week; however, it is not abnormal for some to take up to a month. Being as consistent as possible with bedtimes and naps helps.
Is your little one having trouble sleeping and it has nothing to do with the time change? Nothing adds more spring into your step like a little (or a lot!) of extra sleep!
I’d love to help your family have the rest your deserve.
If you are reading this in the wee hours of the morning and feeling like you are on your last leg, I know how you feel! We love our children, but so desperately need rest, too. I can truly say that I know what it’s like to have tried everything possible and still be up at night... Learn more about how I can help.