Dr. Sarah Mitchell
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2 Ways to Help Your Child Adapt to Spring Forward

Spring forward occurs in the month of March this year, which means that 6 am is now 7 am. So, In order to help you baby sleep better spring time change and baby sleeping routine should be matched.

This is MUCH easier than fall back where your 6 am wake up just became 5 am.

The biggest trick to adapting to time change is to spread the adjustment over a few days rather than all in one night.

If you try and make the change in one night, you risk putting your child into the overtired zone.

Being overtired puts your child at a greater risk of having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep and then waking up really early.

2 Tips To Help Adapt Your Child to Spring Forward

  • Adjust to the time change slowly in 10- 15-minute increments
  • You need to shift 1 hour
  • For a little baby you can put your child down 10 minutes earlier over a period of 6 days
  • By the 6th day you will have shifted the schedule by an hour
  • Monitor your child’s total 24 hours of sleep.
  • Monitoring your child’s 24-hour sleep helps you identify if she’s lost any sleep and puts it in perspective how much sleep she actually needs.

You can download my sleep summary by age which tells you how much sleep she needs by month.

So, When you are adjusting your child’s schedule you can be proactive or retroactive when it comes to spring forward which happens on Sunday, March 10th 2019.

HOW TO BE PROACTIVE – If you need your baby to awake by a certain time every day to make daycare etc.
  • Start making 15-minute changes 4 nights before the time change
HOW TO BE RETROACTIVE – Let it happen naturally
  • You could also wait until the time change happens, and adjust from there.
  • Your Baby was waking at 6:30 am, which is now 7:30 am.  Which is actually kind of nice, right!  But now her bedtime will be later.
  • From my experience, most kids will ultimately move back to waking up between 6:30 and 7:30 am and it will happen naturally.
  • Similarly, your child up at 6:30 am because of morning schedules, then wake her up 15 minutes earlier each day.  See the table below for an example

Key Points

  • AVOID keeping your child up longer than 30 minutes at a time to try and shift the schedule
  • USE small 15-20 minute increments to change the schedule over a period of days
  • Therefore, BE proactive and retroactive in your approach to the time change

This strategy applies to shifting any schedules which have become a habit.  

Sarah Mitchell

I empower tired parents to teach their babies and toddlers to sleep by educating parents on their child’s age appropriate sleep needs, sleep training options and coaching them through the process.

Do you have more questions about your baby's sleep? A great place to start is by taking my Sleep Quiz. I'll ask you some questions about your baby's age and sleeping habits and you'll get a personalized response with 1 simple suggestion that you can try tonight! 

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