Helping your Baby Adjust to the Time Change

Most adults love the extra hour of sleep in the fall and despise losing the hour in the spring. With children that all seems to change. The extra hour in the fall now means that baby is waking at 5am instead of 6am.  Rest assured, within a week, you can reset your child’s body clock to adjust to the new time.  And here are some tips to make it easier!

Get up at your usual time and start the day. Once everyone has had breakfast now go and change your clock back one hour.

The best way to make the transition to the new time is to split the difference.

If for example your little one usually takes a morning nap round 9:30, you will adjust this to 9:00 am for the 3 days after the time change. It will be a bit of a push for your child because it will actually feel like 10am, but not so much that it will disrupt her overall schedule. Do the same for the others naps.

Let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7 PM, I recommend putting that child to bed at 6:30 PM for the first 3 days following the time change. (This will FEEL like 7:30 to your child.) And it will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this.

If you have children over the age of two, you can put a digital clock in the room and put a piece of tape over the minute numerals, so that they can see if it is 6 o’clock or 7 o’clock, but they cannot see the minutes, which often confuses toddlers. I would just set the clock forward half an hour so that at 6:30, it reads 7:00 and 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 are dealing with a baby, you cannot do that. Do not rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up, because you do not want to send a message that getting up at 6 a.m. is okay now. So if she normally wakes at 7:00am, but is now up at 6:00, you will wait until ten after on the first day, and then twenty after the next, then 6:30 the next day and, by the end of the week your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and she should be waking up at her usual hour.  On the fourth night, just get in line with the new time. So your baby is back to going to bed when the clock says 7:00 pm, and adjust naps to the correct time on day 4 as well.

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