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Daylight Saving Time: Strategies to Ensure Smooth Transitions

Daylight Savings 2024

As the clocks spring forward, many parents brace themselves for the inevitable disruption to their sleep routines. After being a sleep coach for more than 5 years now, I know that there are several ways to tackle this time change and it depends on your baby and your family dynamics.

Some parents love the planning while others like to go with the flow, you might be wondering how best to navigate the transition with your little one. Don't worry, I've outlined a few options for you:

Option 1: Embrace the Change

This option works well if your little one has an early schedule, particularly if they tend to wake up very early and your routine could benefit from a later wake-up and bedtime.

For instance, in my case, my daughter typically goes to bed early and wakes up very early, usually between 5:30 and 6:00 am. With the time change, I simply let her wake up at her regular time, which is now 6:30 am, and we continue with our day as usual. This approach allows us to maintain consistency in our routine while also accommodating the shift in time.

However, I do not recommend this approach if your little one already has a later bedtime, such as 8 pm. Without any adjustments, this would effectively push their bedtime to 9 pm, which is later than ideal for a baby or toddler. Additionally, it could result in them waking up as late as 8 am the next day.

Option 2: Gradual Adjustment

For those who prefer a more gradual approach, consider shifting your child's schedule in 15-minute increments leading up to the time change. Begin by waking them up 15 minutes earlier each day, gradually adjusting meal times, naps, and bedtime accordingly. This method allows for a smoother transition, minimizing disruption to their routine.

And yes, waking them up 15 minutes earlier might not be your best choice, but it can make the transition smoother and it works wonders with babies younger than 2.

I do not suggest this gradual approach for toddlers, for toddlers and school-aged kids, you can do option 3.

Option 3: Rip Off the Band-Aid

Alternatively, you could take a more direct approach by waking your child an hour earlier on the morning of the time change.

Yes, this means that when you wake your toddler at 6 am it would be like 5 am for him (and for you).

While this may initially result in some fussiness, it can accelerate the adjustment process, allowing them to acclimate to the new schedule more quickly.

Regardless of the approach you choose, other things that can help include:

  1. Patience: It's essential to remain patient as your child adjusts to the new schedule.

  2. Toddler Clock: Consider using a toddler clock to signal when it's time for your little one to wake up. This can help establish a consistent waking routine.

  3. Blackout Curtains: Install blackout curtains to block out excess light, especially in the morning. Bright light can disrupt your baby's wake-up time, so ensuring a dark environment can promote better sleep.

  4. Consistent Routine: Maintain a consistent bedtime routine to signal to your child that it's time to go to bed. Consistency is key in establishing healthy sleep habits.

  5. Daytime Light Exposure: Ensure your baby gets plenty of light exposure during the day, particularly in the morning. Taking a morning walk or spending time outdoors can help regulate their circadian rhythm and promote better sleep at night.

And remember, should you find yourself in need of further guidance or support during this time of transition, know that you're not alone. We're all in this together, navigating the challenges of daylight saving time with confidence and grace.


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