Spring Forward = ☀️ Light In the Morning

baby sleep daylight savings time change Mar 07, 2021

Springing Forward often causes parents more concern than Falling Back, because surely it is easier to fall asleep later than usual than earlier than usual, RIGHT?!  Not.

I like to simplify all the overwhelming information that circulates around the time change. 

And as always remember, light is your friend.  With the Spring Time Change, you want to get outside early in the sunlight to help everyone's body clock adjust.  And then DIM lights and sounds early to help the body adjust to an earlier bedtime.  (Friends in the Pacific Northwest-- research says artificial light can help as well.)


Option A:

Do nothing, wing it, follow your child's cues, and adjust the schedule if needed starting Sunday.

Option B:

Shift Schedule forward starting Wednesday to give yourself 4 days to shift bedtime up.  (Ideal for sensitive children.)

If you chose Option B:

✓  Wake from the last nap of the day 15 minutes earlier than normal in order to be able to shift bedtime 15 minutes earlier AND wake your child each morning 15 minutes earlier than usual to fit the new Sunday morning target wake up time.  

(If your child does better with shifting the whole day earlier, you can wake them 15 minutes earlier each day so that they are naturally tired earlier.)

{I know this is the most brutal suggestion, but it will have the best payoff down the road.}

✓  Repeat this method for each of the four days so that when you reach the day the time shifts, your child's new schedule will match her pre-DST schedule.

✓  Darken bedtime zone 1 hour before bedtime to naturally signal the hormone release to move them into a sleepier state.  This means no outside play (move it to first thing in the morning instead the first week) and no exposure to screens at this time.  Dim lights and quieter voices are great signals for young children to start calming their bodies for sleep.

✓  Make sure you are consistent with your response and reinforcing boundaries for sleep as you guide your child through the time change. You don't want to build in a new crutch.


Q:   How do naps work if I decide to move up bedtime and wake time 15 minutes each day for 4 days?

A:   You have a young infant and you still watch the awake time intervals and balance that with your baby's sleepy cues to know when to put her down for naps.  Continue with this plan, but be sure to wake from naps when needed to protect the next sleep session and ensure that your baby is not getting too much day sleep. The afternoon nap will just be shorter for a few days.


You have a child that naps at a predictable time each day. Apply the 15 minutes earlier-a-day strategy to help with the adjustment.


Q:   Still feeling apprehensive about this time change thing that everyone thought was a good idea way back in 1918?

A:   Think about your child's needs.  Think about your schedule.  What can you be consistent with for a week to get through the adjustment?

PREPARE Decide what approach your family will take to adjust to "springing forward."

WATCH Watch nap duration to make sure children do not get too much day sleep.

USE LIGHT AS A SIGNAL Dim light ONE hour before bedtime.  Move evening outdoor playtime to the morning to help with the transition to an earlier bedtime.

Most #happysleepers that already sleep well because their parents have firm boundaries for sleep in place adjust to the time change in a few days.  A small percentage of children require a gradual adjustment and take a week or two to settle in.

Have more questions?  Would you like a sleep expert to weigh in on your current sleep routines?  Schedule a free 15-minute call to learn more about how Sleep Happy services can help you reach your sleep dreams by following this link:  https://www.sleephappyconsulting.com/free-15-min-call

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