I LOVE the Spring forward time change.
Lazy mornings, summer nights, and late-night margaritas with friends are what I look forward to all winter. And now that my children are sleeping in an hour later, it FEELS like I'm kicking a$$ at this Mom thing. Or if you're like my sister, you're loving that your baby and toddler are going to bed early, giving you some extra alone time with your husband. I love these little Daylight Savings baby sleep tricks ;)
But this is parenthood- don't all good things come to an end?! Guess what- this one doesn't have to. Let’s dive into: Daylight Savings Baby Sleep Tricks: March "Spring Forward" Time Change and How to Shift a Schedule!
Ok let's start with: The "After" Schedule
I have a good friend nearby who often travels for work, and we joke that it isn't accidental that she leaves her husband to deal with any sleep issues that need a quick fix. Last year, same time change, she left for a 3 day work trip the night before the switch. Hubby was pretty good at the baby sleep tricks and was happy his baby slept in an extra hour that Daylight Savings Sunday morning, but horrified when his "easy-to-bed" daughter screamed for a full hour after lights out night after night. Was he doing something differently than Mom? Was she just being difficult? Or maybe she was hungry? This went on for three full nights, until his wife finally returned home....and everything had gone back to "normal". The husband was completely stumped and the wife calling his bluff- so how did this all come about to begin with? Did he shift the schedule too much or not enough? The March Spring Forward Time change can be tricky!
Here's what happened.
Every child has a night here or there where they test the waters with your boundaries when it comes to bedtime (which is super common at every age). However, in my business I look for PATTERNS, or a sleep issue that occurs more than 3+ nights in a row, which indicates that a sleep association or issue is possibly forming. Although the sweet toddler from the story above was used to getting up at 7am (which was now 8am), Daddy tried to put her down for bed at her NORMAL bedtime of 8pm (which, YUP, was actually 7pm prior to the change, a whole hour earlier than normal). Encouraging bedtime more than an hour early is what caused the bedtime battle in this particular scenario. How to shift a schedule though? If you use these Daylight Savings Baby Sleep tricks below, you’ll be able to shift your baby’s schedule before you can even say the word Spring Forward!
Here is a sample Before & After 1-Nap schedule:
CURRENT (BEFORE THE MARCH DAYLIGHT SAVINGS SPRING FORWARD):
Wake at 7am
Bedtime at 8pm
*They will wake up an hour later on Sunday (which really isn’t an hour later but looks like it, make sense?)
AFTER DAYLIGHT SAVINGS MARCH SPRING FORWARD:
Wake at 8am
Off Nap Now at 2pm (opposed to 1pm)
Lights Out/Bedtime now at 9pm (opposed to 8pm)
The example above works perfectly for stay at home Moms, or families without school-aged children. However, if you prefer your child to have that earlier bedtime due to obligations such as leaving for work or catching the school bus for your older child, you may not be able to afford the luxury of kiddos sleeping until 8am, right? (Until the summertime anyways!)
Here's where you have to ask yourself before you learn how to shift a schedule: SLEEP IN......OR GO TO BED EARLY? (Buzzkill: You can't have both when you have kids.)
With the March Spring Forward Daylight Savings time change, now you have the option to choose (Pop, Fizz, Clink and cheers all around!!).
If you chose Sleep In:
You'll have to now stick to the "After" schedule religiously, offering nap one hour later than “normal” and bedtime one hour later than “normal”, which is technically the same time prior to the time change; no new schedule or shifting necessary. Need a new custom schedule to follow? Click here to snag yours.
If you chose Go to Bed Early:
You'll have to slowly work back to your "Current" or "Before" schedule by putting your child down for nap 30 minutes later, and down for bedtime 30 minutes later for at least 5-7 days. If you're using the "after" schedule to achieve this, then nap time would be 1:30pm, and 8:30pm bedtime. After a full week, move nap back to your "before time" and bedtime back to your "before bedtime" and your child should begin waking at the normal time again. Did that make sense? Email me with your child’s current schedule prior to Daylight Savings and I'll take a look at your schedule and give recommendations to achieve your “perfect” wakeup time and bedtime, and successfully shift your baby’s schedule after the March Daylight Savings.
If you want to be proactive and start to work on your child's sleep schedule BEFORE Daylight Savings wreaks havoc on your life (GREAT solution if you have kids in school or have to drop them at daycare/sitter):
Simple! Set your alarm for 30-60 minutes earlier than normal, and wake your kids up. Lots of activity and outdoor play, or mentally stimulating indoor play at a play gym or children's learning center. Put your baby or toddler to down for naps 30-60 minutes earlier than normal for naps and bedtime. Voila, day of the time change, you can sit back and relax, because your children’ schedules are already adjusted for Daylight Savings.
Oh I forgot. Did I mention it's going to be sunny AF at 5am now also?
If you want your child to sleep past 5am, you NEED a blackout shade before March. Not just those fancy Pottery Barn blackout curtains, a blackout SHADE. To shift a schedule, the room needs to be DARK. The sun rises on East-facing windows, signally your child's internal clock that it's time to get up! Ain't nobody got time for waking up that early. Here is our favorite, fool-proof window cover that works better that tin foil, and comes on & off a whole heck of a lot easier, and customized to your window size even for under $50! Totally worth the extra zzz's if you ask me. Otherwise your day is about to start REALLLL early. Buy the shades.
In the end, always be sure to use my “Sleep and the City” rules for successful sleep shaping:
The same sleeping environment is encouraged ( meaning one place over and over, or to start, at least one nap in the desired sleep place per day). We LOVE the Dock-a-Tot for my toddlers to achieve this no matter where we are! USE CODE DOCKCANDY10 for $10 off now! ;)
Swaddle (0-6 months) for nighttime and nap times as needed; we love how easy this is with the Ollie Swaddle and this link will get you 10% off ;)
Comfy outfits for nap time (who wants to sleep in tight pants or a dress?!) We love pajamas from Hanna Andersson, which are 100% organic and wonderful for sensitive skin.
White noise is continuously running; a one with low rumbling is best like our fave from Hatch Baby
Room is completely dark for naps & nighttime (nightlight over 2+ years ok). Black Out Shades are highly, highly recommended prior to the change!
Understand the Wake windows by age (For help on wake windows or creating a schedule, click here).
Pause for 1-5 minutes before rushing in, sometimes children cry out momentarily in their sleep and fall right back asleep thereafter, but not if us adults are busting into the room to save them
Feed upon WAKING from sleep, not before (bedtime is the exception) using the Eat, Play, Sleep approach, found by age in our Sleep & Feeding Schedules Survival Guide for up to age 4!
As always, contact me if you need any help and I'll be glad to take a look at your situation and recommend some great fixes that fit your lifestyle and child's temperament. Have a great day everyone!
Sleep is possible, let's do this!
Daylight Savings Baby Sleep Tricks: March "Spring Forward" Time Change and How to Shift a Schedule