Springing Forward

Strategies to help your family through the dreaded time change

Now that March is here hopefully the weather will start to warm up!

With March comes the wonderful and slightly annoying spring forward time change. Losing an hour during the time change can be a little trickier of an adjustment than fall back for some children. It may take their bodies a little longer to adapt while their internal clock is re-establishing.

Remind us again of why these time changes even exist?

We understand how complicated the time change can be so we’ve broken it down into three different strategies you can use to help your little one through the transition of daylight saving. However, it really comes down to your child and how they handle changes in their routine. We’ve created a sample schedule based on a child who wakes between 6:30 and 7:00am with a 9am and 1pm nap and a 7:00 pm bedtime. Choose the option that you feel your child will respond to best and adjust it based on their daily schedule.

Early Risers

This is a great time of year for families with children that are struggling with early rising. If your child is waking at 5:00am, they will likely start sleeping until 6:00am. If you would like to maintain the 6:00am wake up be mindful of what time your little one is going to bed at. Pushing your child’s bedtime too late will cause the early rising to begin again. Try and maintain the schedule as consistently as possible including naps and bedtime.

Option 1: Stick to your pre-daylight saving schedule.

This may be easier for parents to follow and for busier families that need to maintain the same wake up times and bedtimes. The morning after the time change, wake your child at the same time that they normally wake up at and the rest of the day will follow suit. Keep all meals, naps and bedtime the same as before the time change.

It may take up to a week for your little one’s internal clock to adjust and there could be some challenges surrounding naps and bedtime on Sunday. When you are attempting to put them to bed at 7:00 pm it still feels like 6:00 pm to them but stay consistent and they will catch on quickly!

Day

Wake Up

AM Nap

PM Nap

Bedtime

Saturday

6:30/7:00 am

9:00 am

1:00 pm

7:00pm

Time Change

    

Sunday

6:30/7:00 am

9:00 am

1:00 pm

7:00pm

 

Option 2: Adjust the schedule by 30 minutes.

This is the most easily adaptable option and works well with most children. An example of this schedule would be: If their usual wake time was at 7:00 am before the time change, the day before the time change you would adjust it to 7:30 am. The morning after the time change, you would wake them up at 8:00 am making sure to adjust meals, naps and bedtime accordingly. If their usual bedtime was at 7:00 pm, you would put them to bed at 7:30 pm the night before the time change and 8:00 pm the night after. You can get them back onto their regular schedule by Tuesday following the schedule below or allow your child’s internal clock a few days to adapt.

DAY

Wake Up

AM Nap

PM Nap

Bedtime

Friday

7:00 am

9:00 am

1:00 pm

7:00pm

Saturday

7:30 am

9:30 am

1:30 pm

7:30 pm

TIME CHANGE

    

Sunday

8:00 am

10:00 am

2:00 pm

8:00 pm

Monday

7:30 am

9:30 am

1:30 pm

7:30 pm

Tuesday

7:00 am

9:00 am

1:00 pm

7:00 pm

 

Option 3: Start the morning after the time change (Sunday)

For some families preparing for the time change beforehand might not be feasible. We can certainly understand that struggle so here is another option. Starting the morning after the time change, begin to adjust your schedule by 30 minute increments. Some children may need an extra day or two to adjust to the new changes.

DAY

Wake Up

AM Nap

PM Nap

Bedtime

Sunday (new time)

8:00 am

10:00 am

2:00 pm

8:00 pm

Monday

7:30 am

9:30 am

1:30 pm

7:30 pm

Tuesday

7:00 am

9:00 am

1:00 pm

7:00 pm

Although the time change can cause some disruption in overall sleep, routine remains especially important during this time as the consistency of the routine will give your child the cues needed to help them settle into sleep while they are adjusting to the new schedule.