For parents, the approach of daylight saving time can be a mixed bag. On one hand, we're all excited to gain an extra hour of sleep. On the other hand, the thought of your baby's sleep schedule potentially being disrupted can make parents dread it. Fear not, though, as there are ways to navigate the time change without major disturbances to your child's sleep routine. As a pediatric sleep consultant, I'm here to share some tips and strategies for helping your little one continue to sleep through the night. Here are a few options to navigate this change! And please note, if your baby is in the newborn phase or on 4 naps or more, you don't really need to change anything. Adjust the schedule according to nap lengths and wake windows.
Week Before Approach
In the days leading up to daylight saving time, start making gradual adjustments to your child's sleep schedule. Move their morning wake up time 10-15minutes later each day, which will result in naps and bedtime being 10-15 minutes later each day. If you do this 4-6 days before the time change, then when its time to "fall back", your baby will have already adapted to the new schedule, minimizing the disruption.
Barley Change a Thing Approach
On Saturday, don't change the schedule at all, except for bedtime. Push bedtime 15 minutes later. (This is not likely to cause too much overtiredness and maybe they will sleep a tad bit later.) On Sunday morning, the clocks will have changed and we will gain an hour. See how long your child will sleep. Its very possible it will be an early morning, that's ok. If they are content, leave them in their crib until the new morning wake up time (or close to) and start the day as usual.
*I would recommend one of the above approaches. The easiest one IMO is barely changing a thing! If you want a weekend of approach, it gets a little more complicated but still doable. It would look like this:
On Saturday and Sunday, stretch wake windows 10 minutes more- Wake up at normal time, then the rest of the day (all naps/wake ups, and bedtime) are all 10 minutes later. Example:
7am wake up
Saturday Schedule will look like this:
7am Wake up
Sunday will look like this: (follow the new time)
630am- Wake up
Monday- Resume your normal schedule
Consistency is key in any sleep routine. Stick to your usual bedtime routines and habits, such as reading a bedtime story or singing a lullaby. Even with the time change, these familiar cues will signal to your baby that it's time for sleep.
The Natural daylight will help to adjust your child's internal body clock. Use it to your advantage and get out in the sun! When indoors, keep it light and bright in the house during the day, and as night time is approaching, dim the lights.
It's normal for some children to take a little time to adjust to the time change. Be patient and flexible with your baby during this period. If they are super tired, you can bring bedtime up a little. It may take a week or so for your child's internal clock to fully adapt to the new schedule.
Navigating daylight saving time with a baby doesn't have to be a daunting task. By making gradual adjustments, maintaining consistency, and being patient, you can help your little one continue sleeping just fine. As a pediatric sleep consultant, I'm here to help you with all of your baby's sleep needs! If your baby's sleep is less than ideal, take the first step and book a free 15 minute sleep assessment call right at the top of this page!