Will the clock change affect my baby's sleep?
Do you fret about the clock change, or do you forget about it every year only to panic at the last minute?
Most parents do not mind it so much when they gain an extra hour, but it sends fear through people’s bones when they hear that they are going to have to lose an hour of sleep!
The most asked question I get around this year is, “Will my 5am start now be a 4am start 😰?”
If I had it my way, there would be no Daylight Savings Time!
So here it is:
Not only does it really affect children’s sleep patterns, but adults as well.
In fact, statistically there is an 8% increase in traffic accidents the Monday after Daylight Savings Time kicks in.
It really does have an effect on all of us and it can increase our sleep debt - especially in little ones who tend to be much more structured with going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning.
This is usually why people notice it the most in young children.
So what is the best way to handle it?
Before you start, have in mind that it may take time and that they will eventually get back on schedule within a week, possibly two.
My advice is to “split the difference.”
For Autumn the clocks “Fall Back”
My recommendation to all parents is to leave your clock alone! And ignore the automatic iPhone update!
That way it’s not as upsetting event to see your little one up an hour earlier.
What time will they wake up now?
I would let them get up a little earlier than normal, knowing that by the end of the week, they would be back on track and sleep until their normal wakeup time.
If you have toddlers and children over the age of two you can use a sleep clock, and set the clock forward half an hour so that at 6:30am, it reads 7am.
If you are dealing with a baby, for obvious reasons, we can't do that.
Wake up Time
If they normally wake at 7am, but they are now up at 6am,
On Day 1 wait til 6:10am
Day 2, til 6:20am
Day 3, 6:30am
Day 4, 6:40am
Day 5, 6:50am
Day 6 , 7am.... you got the idea!
Don't feel you have to rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up. Wait and see.
Then if, your little one usually takes a morning nap round 9:30am, you will adjust this to 9am for the 3 days after the time change (this will feel like 10am to your little one).
It will be a bit of a push, but not so much that it will cause much damage to the days schedule.
Do the same for the afternoon nap, making it 30 minutes earlier.
On Day 4, adjust naps back to the normal time.
If you are working on a wake window stick with your normal wake windows between sleeps. This will adjust itself over the week.
Not sure when your little one should be napping? Pop over and check out my free guide to Naps in the First Year of Baby
If your little one usually goes to bed at 7pm, make bedtime at 6:30 pm for the first 3 days following the time change.
This will feel like 7:30pm to your little one.
On the 4th night, just get in line with the new time. So your baby is back to going to bed when the clock says 7pm.
Still having problems with getting back on track with the day, or finding that 5am (or earlier) is now the new norm?
Book your free 15 minute Discovery Call and let's get you back on track.