Dr. Sarah Mitchell
About Author

2 Ways to Help Your Child Adapt to Spring Forward

Daylight Savings Time or Spring forward occurs in the month of March this year, which means that 6 am is now 7 am. This is a fabulous experience for most parents who would love to "sleep in" a little.  The downside is that all of us will lose 1 hour of sleep which can make people a little grumpy Monday or Tuesday.

Daylight saving time (DST) is the practice of advancing clocks one hour during the summer months so that evening daylight lasts longer. The purpose of DST is to make better use of daylight and conserve energy. It was first implemented during World War I as a way to reduce electricity usage. Many countries around the world currently observe DST.

The biannual changing of clocks can temporarily disrupt sleep cycles, especially for infants and small children. When clocks spring forward an hour in the spring, infants may have difficulty falling asleep as their normal bedtime suddenly comes while the sun is still out. They may also wake up earlier than desired the next morning. In the fall when clocks are set back an hour, infants may sleep later into the morning, which can throw off nap schedules during the day. It typically takes about a week for infants to adjust to the time changes each season. Keeping bedtime routines consistent can help minimize disruptions. Overall the impact is temporary, but parents of infants should be aware of DST changes and prepare for possible effects on sleep patterns.

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

Some parents choose to adapt to this new schedule and later wake up rather than move it back. If you do want to move it back, say for having to have an earlier wake up to get to day care the biggest thing to remember is that you can't shift the entire hour in one day.

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

2 Tips To Help Adapt Your Child to Spring Forward

Things you can do to adjust the schedule:

1.  Do nothing.  Relish that sleep in 😁😁

2.  Shorten the awake times to recoup lost sleep.  In the example below for a 2 year old, we shorten the awake window by 30 minutes to recoup some lost sleep in the night.  If you have a younger baby you would do this in 15 to 20 minute increments say for newborn up to 1.5 years of age.

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 13th 2022.

Here is an example of a 4 day shift of a 10-11 month old on a 3.5 hour awake window.

The challenge can be at the end of the day where now it's still bright at 7 pm !   I love these sleepout curtains to block out the lights and distractions. Use my code helpingbabiessleep for 10% off.

Key Points

  • You can do nothing and let your child and you lose one hour of sleep but they will generally adapt by napping longer the next day or the following day.
  • You can shift the schedule back by waking them earlier to start the day in small increments of time, such as 20 minutes.
  • For babies less than 2 years, user smaller increments of time  small 15-20 minute increments to change the schedule over a period of days
  • For babies 2 years plus we can shift in 30 minute increments.

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! 

Read Next:

More Posts

You Might Also Like

Read More

Colic in Babies: Baby Massage and Other Tactics for Quick Relief

Colic by definition is more than three hours of crying per day, for more than three days a week, for more than three weeks. Researchers actually don't know the root cause however there are many working theories. Find more about Colic in Babies and its remedies.
May 2, 2022
Dr. Sarah Mitchell
Read More
Sleep Teaching

What is Cry It Out Sleep Training Method: Does It Work?

People have wildly different definitions of what cry it out means to them. For some people, cry it out means tears of any kind. But the true definition of cry it out, cried out, means extinction.
Apr 10, 2022
Dr. Sarah Mitchell
Read More

Nursing Baby To Sleep: Is It Good or Bad?

Nursing to sleep: is it bad? or For some people, they can nurse to sleep and have these beautiful, long stretches of nighttime sleep. Why is that?
Apr 9, 2022