How To Adjust Sleep Schedules For Spring Daylight Saving Time


On SundayMarch 12 2023, clocks change! We are going FORWARD one hour starting at 2AM! But how do you adjust sleep schedules for babies and toddlers with this time change?

Thankfully, this time change isn’t as brutal as the fall change! It’s going to feel pretty blissful to wake at 7AM…the old 6AM! In fact, many families use this as an opportunity to push their baby’s schedule forward for the warmer months! If you’d like to do that, it’s totally an option!

On the blog, I’ll walk you through how to handle the time transition for your baby, both adjusted schedule and the new ‘later’ schedule!

How to adapt your child’s sleep schedule during Daylight Savings Time

Personally I don’t like to adjust any changes in sleep schedules before time change night. 

Sunday morning when you wake up (now it’s an hour later), get up, then change your clocks, get your coffee, get started for the day, and finally, slightly adjust your child’s schedule!

There are 4 options for adjusting to daylight savings

  1. Do nothing and just wing it for a few days!

  2. Wake your baby up at their normal time (Ex: 7AM, but the old 6AM) and keep your same schedule.

  3. Let your child sleep until the new time and shift their entire schedule for a later start time and bedtime. Can’t make any promises that it will 100% work, but could try!!!

  4. Use the “split the difference” method I teach! See the screen grabs below!

The way splitting the difference works is that you will adjust your baby’s nap and bedtime schedule to where they go down for a nap or bedtime 30 minutes later but they will feel like they are going to bed thirty minutes sooner.

Then, about three to four days later, depending on the child, you’re going to go back to the normal time.

It takes about a week total to really adjust to this. Only about three to four days will you need to actually adjust their schedule before they get in line with it. 

Sample Daylight Savings Schedules

Let’s look at some example sleep schedules to save on your phone…

Spring Forward for Infants

For babies 0-5 months old, we’re still 100% focused on awake windows.

You’re not adjusting their schedule since we haven’t landed one yet!

Abide strictly by their awake windows, and perhaps cap a nap short at the end of the day so you can have that goal bedtime range!

(Bedtime range = bedtime will fall somewhere between ___ and ___ times, depends on the baby’s age! See our free schedule generator here for details!)

Spring Forward for Babies with a 2-Nap Schedule

Your child will still take 2 naps, but the naps will feel 30 minutes sooner.

We can get away with this easier in the morning because your child’s sleep pressure is the greatest.

Have you noticed your child rubbing their eyes or yawning even after 1 hour of being awake? Consider this like a sleep hangover!

They slept well all night, wake up and the pressure from the night is still lingering. The morning nap is the easiest one to fall asleep for, so it’s not as much of a fight to get baby down a tad earlier.

The rest of the day follows suit with 30 minute ‘later’ naptimes, which feel like 30 minutes earlier!

Spring Forward for Babies with a 1-Nap Schedule

Your child will still keep their 1 nap, but it will feel 30 minutes sooner.

If your toddler did wake up later in the morning, you may want to focus on LOTS of activity time between breakfast and naptime! (This is actually just a good toddler nap tip in general!) That night you’ll also adjust bedtime slightly.

We’re essentially putting them down where they feel like they’re going to bed thirty minutes early. It’s going to take about four days to adjust.

Spring Forward for Toddlers and Preschoolers Who Don’t Nap

If you have a child who is not napping spring time change is simple! 

For the most part, you could just jump into the day and either go with normal bedtime or adjust their schedule later if you’d like.

If you would like to shift their schedule to be a later bedtime for the spring and summer season, commit to the new time and monitor how they respond to this later schedule for the next several weeks.

For more on shifting sleep schedules, read my thoughts here!

 

Using Spring Time Change To Shift Sleep Schedules 

One common thought during spring time change is to adjust your family’s sleep schedule to have a later start time and later bedtime. If you want to do this, go for it!!!

Sometimes Little Z’s families actually like to adjust their schedules per season!

Many families who enjoy being outdoors in the warm weather will use Spring DST to move bedtime and start time later so they can go outside in the evenings.

If it works for your family, do it! Make sure you’ve got high quality blackout curtains to keep your kiddo sleeping later in the morning! Check out this previous blog for the best options.

However, I can’t guarantee that we can get your child into this new bedtime.

A child’s body clock can be very sensitive.

Even though your child cannot read numbers, their body is very in-tune with their daily rhythms.

To help with some of this and if you’re looking to adjust your child from a 6 AM-6 PM to a 7 AM-7 PM, my #1 tip is to get outside!

It’s the same thing I would do if you’re dealing with jet lag or you’re moving to a new time zone.

Getting outside allows your child to soak up the ending day’s sunlight. This is a huge way for your body to trigger the production of melatonin.

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in our bodies that helps us fall asleep and stay asleep all night long. Learn more about my thoughts on melatonin supplements here!

Let’s make sure we get outside, run around, play, play, play, go inside to get ready for bed, close the blinds and windows, and make the house a little bit darker!

You don’t have to turn off the lights and get ready with a flashlight, but let’s just block out the natural sunlight so your child’s body is cued to produce the melatonin and help adjust them to this new schedule. 

 

How to adjust to spring time change for daycare babies

Ask your child’s daycare if they will be using a daylight savings adjustment schedule like the “split the difference” I shared above!

If they will not be using that method, it might be up to you to help your child stay on track with their old schedule.

My best suggestion for a daycare family is to wake your baby up on Sunday morning at their typical start time.

Example: If your daycare baby needs to wake up at 6:30 AM to start the day, wake your baby up at 6:30 AM on Sunday morning. Yes, this is the old 5:30 AM time so it can feel painful! But with this method you’re going to jump into the new time change and keep your old schedule.

Conclusion

There are 4 options for adjusting your baby or toddler to spring daylight saving time:

  1. Do nothing and just wing it for a few days!

  2. Wake your baby up at their normal time (Ex: 7AM, but the old 6AM) and keep your same schedule.

  3. Let your child sleep until the new time and shift their entire schedule for a later start time and bedtime. Can’t make any promises that it will 100% work, but could try!!!

  4. Use the “split the difference” method I teach above!

If there’s one thing you’ve learned from me, it’s that sleep is complex. It is not black and white!

There are lots of little what if’s and little gaps that have been left between this blog because I don’t know how your child sleeps.

If your child is still waking up all night long and they’re 4+ months old, grab my FREE Baby Sleep Course here!! 

Got to the end of this blog and are thinking, “I DON’T KNOW MY CHILD’S SCHEDULE! How are you supposed to change things?!”

Gotcha covered, of course!!! Use our free schedule generator to find your child’s schedule!

People tell us they use this every month to keep on top of their little’s sleep! Go for it! 

We’re gonna be okay, ya’ll! Spring Forward means warm weather!!! 

LOVE THIS? PIN IT FOR LATER!

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