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Easy 7 Day Guide to

Easy 7 Day Guide to "Spring Forward" With Kids for Daylight Savings Time

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Love it or hate it - Daylight Savings Time comes every year! For most people, the aspect for springing forward is an inconvenient hassle that is results in fatigue for about a week.

For parents of young children, the aspect of an hour lost usually means a lot less sleep (and possibly more crying than usual) for the whole family.

It's taken a few years of hands-on experience but here is the guide we use to adjust our babies and young kiddos to Daylight Savings time every spring.

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Our Countdown Guide to "Spring Forward"

 
Sunday - 7 Days Before - Move Schedule up by 10 Minutes
[Example Reg. Bedtime 7:00pm | New 6:50pm]

Move baby/kid's bedtime, wake-time and naptime up by 10 minutes. If your normal schedule is to get little one ready for bed at 6:30pm and be asleep by 7:00pm, then you'll start your routine at 6:20pm and make sure lights are out at 6:50pm. Nudge wakeup times as well. I like to do this with natural light if possible. Raise the blinds and open the curtains to let your little gradually get used to the earlier time.

Monday - 6 Days Before - Repeat (but start routine 5-10 minutes earlier)
[Example Reg. Bedtime 7:00pm | New 6:50pm]

In our experience, that first night usually goes well. Night #2 is where things can get a little tough and you'll be met with some crankiness. So instead of pushing "lights out" even earlier, we like to repeat the 10 minute time change tonight BUT we start to get ready for bedtime a little bit earlier. This gives you some wiggle room for another story, drink of water, and extra cuddling that might be required to keep the earlier "lights out" schedule.

Tuesday - 5 Days Before - Move Schedule up by 10 more Minutes
[Example Reg. Bedtime 7:00pm | New 6:40pm]

Move up the schedule another 10 minutes. It might feel like it's getting worse but hold your ground. Being consistent with your routine will be helpful. Make sure that you are also trying to stick to the new schedule.

Wednesday - 4 Days Before - Move Schedule up by 10 more Minutes

[Example Reg. Bedtime 7:00pm | New 6:30pm]

You're halfway there! Move the schedule up another 10 minutes. You should now be 30 minutes earlier on all bedtime, waketimes and naptimes. The new routine might be sinking in with less resistance now - just try to stay consistent so you don't undo all of your work. If it's still a major struggle, remember to start the bedtime routine a bit earlier for more story and snuggle time. You want to keep bedtime as enjoyable as possible.

Thursday - 3 Days Before - Repeat (but start routine 5-10 minutes earlier)

[Example Reg. Bedtime 7:00pm | New 6:30pm]

You're doing great so just repeat your 30 minute earlier schedule tonight. It's helping to reinforce the new routine for everyone. You're getting ready for the home stretch so try to start the bedtime routine a bit earlier again. You're almost there - you can do this!

Friday - 2 Days Before - Move Schedule up by 10 more Minutes
[Example Reg. Bedtime 7:00pm | New 6:20pm]

Move up the schedule another 10 minutes. This might be hard because it's Friday but if you can - stick with it the schedule. Be aware that if you stay out late tonight - the kiddos will be waking up 40 minutes earlier tomorrow morning. It might be a great time for some Netflix and chill.

Saturday - 1 Day Before - Move Schedule up by 10 more Minutes

[Example Reg. Bedtime 7:00pm | New 6:10pm]

You're almost there and you're doing awesome! You might be feeling better already about the new schedule. In fact if you're following this routine yourself, you'll notice that waking up an hour earlier is far less painful than it was in your pre-kid years. 

Sunday - Congratulations! - Move Schedule up by 10 more Minutes
[Example Reg. Bedtime 7:00pm | New 7:00pm]

The clocks have changed and you have made it! Tonight, you will be putting your littles to bed at the same "old" time (which will feel like a full hour ahead) but you and your kiddos should be adjusting just fine. There may be a few more days of restlessness at bedtime but your return to your usual schedule will help sort that out. You've handled it all like a pro and we are applauding you!

 

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4 Helpful Tips

  • Hydration - make sure your kids are getting plenty of liquids during the day. Dehydration can make kids restless at night which makes it harder for them to fall asleep. (Hint: make sure you're getting plenty of water too!)
  • More Exercise During the Day - if weather permits, get the kiddos outside for some extra play. It will help them feel more tired, earlier at night.
  • Less Activity in the Evening - try to limit the stimulation in the hour leading up to bedtime and naps if possible. A bath is a great way to relax little ones who are struggling with the new schedule.
  • Light is Your Friend - Light plays a role in our circadian rhythm (internal clock) and you can use this to your advantage. Start dimming lights around the house a bit earlier. You can even use a soft light for storytime to help adjust everyone to the darker, sleepier environment. Instead of waking little ones with an alarm, trying letting in natural light or turning on a hallway light in the morning to help them gradually wake up.

Please note: Keep in mind that babies under 12 weeks are not structured in their sleep patterns. If you are concerned about your child's sleep - please consult your doctor.

Did we forget anything? If you have any tips that have worked for you, we'd love to hear them!

Sweet dreams!

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