It’s almost that time of year again! “Spring Forward” can cause anxiety for parents. Before becoming a parent, this probably didn’t affect you much. But now, losing that hour takes on a whole new meaning! Your newborn or young infant who hasn’t gotten into a predictable routine may not be particularly affected, but the time change can throw off your older baby or toddler’s more established sleeping patterns.
You may be wondering, “how can I help my baby adjust to the time change?” Here are a few suggestions to help make this transition go a little smoother for you and your little one:
Start shifting your baby’s routine ahead of time.
Before “springing forward,” try to slowly nudge your baby’s sleep routine earlier by 10-15 minute-increments each day. For example, if your baby usually naps at 10am and 2pm, then goes down for the night at 7pm, start the nap/bedtime routine at 9:50am, 1:50pm, and 6:50pm. You may need to wake them up from naps early as well, in order for them to be ready for sleep sooner. Small changes are key here! Sometimes even small changes can affect your baby, so if a small adjustment sets off a cascade of new sleep struggles, it may be better to just “rip off the band-aid” – meaning do nothing until the actual time changes. Every child is different, so who knows? You may get lucky and the adjustment will be easy!
Adjust the light.
A helpful tip during daylight savings is 30 minutes before bed, reduce the lights and turn off electronics. It’s going to be lighter longer so using dark shades can also be helpful.
Sunlight naturally helps set the body’s internal clock. On the day of the time change, try to get outside at least twice—ideally before and after lunch. Remember to avoid direct sun with an infant, especially during peak UV hours. Alternatively, you can also place baby’s play mat in near a window to allow as much natural light as possible.
Try not to stress!
You never know, you could get lucky and your baby may not have trouble adjusting at all. Taking preventative action is always a good idea, but when the time comes, just go with the flow and hopefully you’ll have a smooth transition!