On Sunday, March 13th, our clocks will change! This time we are moving forward by 1 hour. Whenever the time changes my current and past clients tend to panic. Don’t fret though. This time change is generally in your favor. Remember the fallback time change before you were a parent. Ah, that blissful extra hour of sleep. Well, this spring forward time change is made for parents!
Those pesky 6 am wakings will not be 7 am. This is also a great opportunity to start pushing your child’s schedule a bit later in preparation for the summer months. Some kiddos can now get away with an 8 pm – 8 am schedule. Of course, not all kiddos are able to adapt to this change, but it’s a great time to try!
Now, let’s get on with how to actually make this change for your child.
How to adjust your child’s sleep for the ‘Spring Forward’ time change:
Many experts encourage parents to start to gradually shift their child’s sleep schedule a week leading up to the time change. I find this confusing, and unnecessary. I want you to go to sleep at the normal time on Saturday the 12th and wake up as you usually would on Sunday the 13th. THEN go around the house and start to adjust the clocks from there.
From here we will start to adjust your child’s schedule. My favorite method is to essentially meet the difference in the middle. Adjust your child’s schedule later by 30 minutes for 3-4 days.
Below are some example schedules to reference based on your child’s age:
Infants: For infants that are still on a “wake window” schedule, the time change is quite easy. Once you wake up on Sunday, you will proceed to use their appropriate wake windows (as referenced above, or you can use our free schedule generator) Even with the time change, their bedtime will likely fall fairly close to what it was prior to the time change.
2 nap schedule babies: Your child will still be taking their usual 2 naps once the time changes. However, adjusting their schedule later by 30 minutes for 3-4 days will allow them to adapt to the time change much easier! Remember, even though you are adjusting their schedule later, it will FEEL earlier. They will likely feel much more tired in the beginning. I promise, this is temporary and they will adjust quickly.
1 nap schedule toddlers: Again your child will still be taking their usual 1 nap once the time changes. However, adjusting their schedule later by 30 minutes for 3-4 days will allow them to adapt to the time change much easier! Remember, even though you are adjusting their schedule later, it will FEEL earlier to them. Feel free to also “cold turkey” the time change for children taking 1 nap per day.
No nap toddlers and preschoolers: If your child is no longer napping feel free to “cold turkey” the time change. Get up as usual on Sunday the 13th and proceed with their day from there. Now, of course, every child is different and there will always be variables to take into consideration – but for the most part, they do quite well with the time change at this age!
I hope this helps! The bottom line: don’t worry about this one! It will take everyone 3-4 days to adjust and before we know it the sun will be out longer, the birds will be chirping and summer will be well on its way!
We are sleep consultants located in Denver and Kansas City. However, we work with families all over the world. If you are struggling with your little one’s sleep please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are always a Free 15-minute phone call away.