Tips for Dealing with Daylight Savings Time
Daylight savings time is coming up next weekend. Most parents don’t mind it so much in the fall when they gain an extra hour, but it sends fear through people’s bones when they hear they are going to have to lose an hour of sleep! So here is the best way to handle daylight savings time and children’s sleep:
My advice is to “split the difference.”
How does that work? If you have a child that does not nap and normally goes to bed at 7:00 pm, you would put him to bed at 7:30 pm on Sunday night, the first night of the time change. This will feel like 6:30 to them, but it is better than adjusting the full hour and having it feel like 6:00 pm!
Do this 30 minute adjustment for three nights, then on the Wednesday night put him to bed at 7:00 pm, or his normal (before Daylight Savings) bedtime.
Newborns and under 6 months
Mostly for babies under six months old, the bedtime may be unpredictable, so simply jump to the new time Sunday night as if you were traveling to a new time zone. If your little one normally goes to be 1.5 hours after his last nap of the day, then you will follow that as normal. At this age, adjustments happen quickly and parents are typically following time spent awake rather than a set bedtime, anyways!
Infants – 6 months to One Year
If you have a baby who is always going to bed around the same time each night, you will adjust the difference in 15 minute increments. For example, if bedtime is normally 7:00 pm, you will move bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night until you reach the normal time. So Sunday night you would put him down at 7:45 pm, Monday night at 7:30 pm, and so on. In four nights you should be back to 7:00 pm. This 15 minute gradual approach will not impact the awake times of your little one as much as adjusting the full hour would!
Toddlers – Ages One and Older
If you have a toddler, you should put him for his first nap 30 minutes later than normal on Sunday. So if he usually naps at 9:30 am, you would put him down at 10:00 am. You would do the same with the afternoon nap (if he is still hanging on to one). For bedtime, if his normal bedtime is 7:00 pm, you would put him down at 7:30 pm. Do this for three nights after the time change, and then on Wednesday night, put him to bed at 7:00 pm or his normal, pre-Daylight Savings bedtime. Then, on Thursday, you will be safe to move nap time(s) to the original time.
Hope this helps as you prepare for Daylight Savings time !