I never liked the beginning of Daylight Saving when I was growing up, especially when we had church at 8:30 in the morning. I’ve never been a morning person (no matter how hard I’ve tried), so losing that one hour of sleep in the morning has never been desirable. I loved the ending of Daylight Saving, because, well, I loved the extra hour of sleep.
Now that I have a child, my dislike for Daylight Saving has increased, and I dread the ending of it to. I mean, it’s one thing with older kids — at least you can explain what’s about to happen. But with babies and toddlers? Well, I think this pretty much sums it up:
Fortunately for me, Jack has adjusted pretty well up until this point after the first day. Since Daylight Saving starts on Sunday, I thought I’d share with all you other parents some tips on how to maintain your child’s sleep routine during Daylight Savings time.
1) Adjust Routine Early
The week before Daylight Saving starts (so…right now), gradually adjust your child’s sleep schedule. So in March, when we lose an hour, you want to slowly put them to bed earlier, so by the time Daylight Savings rolls around, you’ve adjusted their sleep schedule to an hour earlier. The Monday before, put them to bed 10 minutes early, the next day 20 minutes, etc. When Daylights Saving ends, just do the opposite — put them to bed a little later each night. I think this is the most effective method, though I know other parents who say it doesn’t work at all.
2) Don’t Wear Them Out
Some people try and wear their children out throughout the day to make them extra tired, but this may result with opposite results! Overly tired children are often harder to wind down and get to fall asleep. So, don’t go to extraordinary measures to make your child sleepy. It might not turn out how you want it to.
3) Make the room darker
If you are putting your child to be earlier, they might object to going to bed with the sun still shining, or just have a hard time falling asleep. Blackout curtains or shades might be a good investment (you can even make your own), and turning on white noise (though make sure it’s a good distance from your child and on the lowest setting) can help hide noises as well. Having blackout curtains leading up to Daylight Saving (or after it ends) can be helpful for keeping your child in bed for longer, since during those times, the sun gets up earlier…and little ones tend to follow suit.
4) Visual Cues
If your child is old enough, you might be able to talk to them about when is an acceptable time to wake up. If they can read the clock, you can show them what time on the clock it has to be before getting out of bed (maybe put a couple books or other quiet time activities next to their bed for if they wake up earlier). I just discovered this sleep training clocks that are great for children who may not understand the concept of time yet. With the one I linked to has a color changing timer, which changes colors when it’s okay for the child to get up (set up by the parent.) For older kids, it has a snooze feature, and even a nap timer!
5) Continue your routine
For us, bedtime routine is key. We do the exact same things every single night — brush teeth, wash hands, diaper changed, jammies on, prayers, and blankets…right down to Jack yelling, “Night night! Bye!” as we leave the room. Make sure you do things how you always would.
6) Prepare for Grumpiness
Even as adults, getting used to a time change is hard. I know it is for me. So if your child is tired, or grumpy, for a few days, just remember the old adage of, “This too shall pass.” Because it will. Just try and have some low key activities on the schedule for a few days, just in case, and accept that your kids (and probably you) might be a little less amiable than usual.
7) Go Cold Turkey
If all else fails, just act like nothing has changed, and put your kids to bed at their regular time. I know with Jack, his bedtime varies between 7 and 8 (usually 8 when we are out doing something), so who knows, your kid might just go to bed as normal. Go with the flow — it might just work for you.
Do you have any tips that have worked well for you? I’d love to hear!
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.