It’s that time of year again - time to spring your clocks forward on March 10th. I know that some of you are panicking about how the time change will affect your child’s sleep schedule. No need to worry because I have your back! Here are some simple techniques that will help make your child’s adjustment to the new time as easy as the spring breeze…
Note: If you are a parent of an early riser, I have extra special instructions on how to use the time change to help your child sleep later. Click here to learn my secret.
Step 1 - Do nothing. I recommend not changing your clocks Saturday night. Instead, wake-up, drink your coffee (if you’re lucky), eat breakfast and then adjust the clocks. That way your family will gradually adjust to the new time throughout the day as opposed to being smacked in the face by it on Sunday morning.
Step 2 - Use the “halfsies” approach. You will gradually help your child get used to falling asleep at the new time by initially splitting the time difference. That way, you won’t have an hour-long bedtime battle on your hands. How does it work? You will put your child to bed a half hour later for three nights in a row and then on the fourth night you will put your child to bed at the normal time. For example, if your child goes to bed at 7:00 PM you will put your child to bed at 7:30 PM on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and then on Wednesday you’ll put her to bed at 7:00 PM. Coping with a half hour time difference initially will be easier for her body clock to handle than jumping right into the hour difference.
Step 3 - What about naps? Don’t worry, I would never forget about naps, which as one client told me stands for “necessary adult peace sessions.” :) You will use the same “halfsies” approach. Put your child down for her first (or only) nap a half hour later starting on Sunday. Then either follow your child’s wake windows to time the rest of her naps or if you’re using a clock schedule, continue to put your child down a half hour later. You will follow this schedule for four days in a row and then change back to the normal time on the fifth day. For example, if your child’s first nap is at 10:00 AM, you will put your child to down at 10:30 AM on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then on Thursday move it back to 10:00 AM. You will handle any additional naps in the same manner.
I hope this helps! The most important thing to remember is that it may take your child a week or even two to become fully adjusted to the new time. In the meantime, just make sure to have plenty of patience and “mommy juice” on hand.