Love it or dread it, daylight savings time is one of those facts of life that we have to adjust to. Before you go to bed on Saturday night, November 1st, turn your clocks back one hour. There are 2 different ways to approach helping your baby make the time change…
You can have your child simply jump to the new time. This often works just fine for older kids, who might feel a little groggy for a few days while they adjust. Since the time is falling back, you can just put your child to bed at the time according to the clock on Sunday night and he will most likely be very tired.
SHIFT YOUR BABY GRADUALLY
Another approach is to anticipate the change and help your baby gradually shift to the new time. Babies tend to have a slightly harder time with the change than older kids.
Once Sunday rolls around, what used to be 8:00 p.m. will now be 7:00 p.m., so your baby will be sleepy before it’s bedtime. Adjust sleep times a little later each day in anticipation.
STEPS FOR SHIFTING YOUR BABY GRADUALLY:
- If your baby’s schedule is just where you want it, you’ll help her adjust to the new time gradually, by moving her bedtime and naps about 15 minutes later each day leading up to Sunday. This works best if you start 4 days in advance.
- If your baby’s current schedule is off and the time change will help (for example, it’s fall and you want him to go to bed an hour earlier), you’re in luck. You will be able to shift your baby immediately to the new time. It will still be very important to pay attention to blocking out daylight and keeping bedtime and nap time routines consistent.
- If your baby’s schedule is off in a direction where the time change will make it even worse (it’s fall and you want her to go to bed an hour later), adjust gradually to the new time and then continue until you’ve reached the desired bedtime. One of the most daunting scenarios is when it’s fall and your baby is already waking up way too early in the a.m. Make sure that you have blackout shades or curtains, for a very dark room in the morning.
- If your baby hasn’t completely adjusted by the time daylight savings time arrives, no worries; just continue the adjustment during the next few days.
Remember routines and environment. Keep bedtime and naptime routines in place and predicable. All that effort and consistency will pay off now, as these cues help your baby adjust to the new time. Also make baby’s room very dark. Light creeping in earlier in the morning or lingering into the summer evening can add to baby’s challenge to adjust to the new time.
Adapted from The Happy Sleeper by Heather Turgeon, MFT and Julie Wright, MFT
Join us for The Happy Sleeper Baby Sleep Class
Babies 5-18 months (all ages welcome)
at The Pump Station & Nurtury™ Santa Monica
Nov. 6th, 1:30pm – 3pm
Call 310-998-1981 to register!
Heather Turgeon, MFT, is a psychotherapist who writes about child development and parenting. She authors the long-running column “The Science of Kids” for the popular online parenting magazine Babble, and is a writer for the National Sleep Foundation.
Julie Wright, MFT, is one of Los Angeles’s best known parenting group leaders and has taught thousands of moms in her Wright Mommy and Me groups at The Pump Station & Nurtury. She specializes in early childhood development, attachment and mindful, empathic parenting.
Julie and Heather co authored, THE HAPPY SLEEPER: The science-based guide to helping your baby get a good night’s sleep (Tarcher/Penguin Random House), coming in December 2014. The Happy Sleeper approach is also taught as part of the Wright Mommy & Me Classes here at The Pump Station & Nurtury!