Is it really time for Daylight Saving Time (DST) to start and to move those clocks forward? I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that the groundhog did not see his shadow signaling spring is to arrive early this year since, here in the Midwest, it feels like winter may never end. Snow days, freezing rain, shoveling, and below freezing temperatures feel like they have become the norm. The start of Daylight Saving Time brings the comfort of knowing that spring is just around the corner. On Sunday, March 10th, we will move our clocks forward one hour. The good news is that “springing forward” is almost always less problematic for our little ones than “falling back,” when Daylight Saving Time ends. With this time change, somelucky parents may even be able to get their early risers to wake a bit later in the morning.
The good news is that “springing forward” is almost always less problematic for our little ones than “falling back,”
Before your bedtime on Saturday night, turn your clocks ahead one hour. If your child usually sleeps until 6:00 am, the next morning she will, most likely, sleep until 7:00 am. For those of you who have early risers, you can use this time change to your advantage to help your little one get on a later schedule. Her entire day will shift an hour later (naps, bedtime, meals, etc.).
If the later wake time works in your favor, then you do not need to do much to change your little one’s schedule. With the sun rising earlier in the morning, use room darkening or blackout shades to keep out any early morning sunlight that may creep through (black garbage bags taped to the windows work well, too). A sound machine used on the white noise setting will help muffle outside noises such as barking dogs and early morning birds that may be waking your baby.
If your little one needs some help to get back to her regular schedule, try these suggestions:
- On Saturday night, put your child down for the night at her regular time.
- On Sunday, wake your child at the time that she normally wakes (6, 6:30, 7 am) according to the new time.
- If your little one is still napping, nap her at her regular nap times according to the new clock. If your baby is more sensitive to schedule changes you can start the naps 30 minutes earlier than usual (according to the new time) and gradually, over the next several days, extend the beginning of the nap to the regular start time.
- On Sunday night, put her down at her regular bedtime (according to the new time).
- Continue with her well-established schedule according to the new time (same wake times, nap times, bed times and feeding times).
Be sure to expose your child to lots of natural light throughout the day, and continue with all of your normal activities to help reset her internal clock to the new time.
Just because it is light outside later into the evening, avoid letting your little one’s bedtime drift later, and be sure to put her to bed at the time she needs. An overtired child leads to difficulty falling asleep, more nighttime wakings, and early wakings in the morning. A well-rested child leads to a happier child and a happier mom and dad!
However you decide to handle the start of Daylight Saving Time, be patient with yourself and your child. Keep in mind that it may take up to a week for your child to adjust.