Spring forward is an easier transition than fall back because we are moving the clocks forward an hour rather than back an hour. The risk for a super early wakeup isn't a problem, as it is for fall back, as long as you have your baby's room nice and dark! Below are a few general tips for navigating a time change and 4 options for how to prepare in advance. I'll list the options from least involved to most involved and you can pick your approach!
Tips for Navigating a Time Change
- Make sure baby's room is dark- Light will be coming in your baby's room at different times and will be way lighter at bedtime. Light signals our body to stay awake and will hinder melatonin production, so get those blackout curtains (or trash bags lol) ready!
- Routine- Baby's thrive on routine, so although the time is changing, most of what regulates our sleep/wake cycles is our routine and daily activities. Keep meal times, play times, nap times, and bedtime routines the same.
- Expect a few days for adjustment- Some babies will go on like nothing happened, others may be slightly off for a few days regardless of how much you prepare. Don't stress, kids are resilient and will bounce back soon. Keep them well-rested & enjoy the (hopefully) spring weather!
4 Options for Adjusting to Spring Forward
- Do nothing- With this approach, if your baby was on a 7PM-7AM schedule, he/she is now on a 8PM-8AM schedule starting Sunday. This might work for some families who want the later morning start and later bedtime. For others, this doesn't work because of daycare or work schedules. My one watch out point for this approach is babies need an early bedtime between 6-8PM to soak in that deep restorative sleep, so if this causes bedtime to fall later than 8PM, I would use a different approach! This approach might also be helpful if you are going through a nap transition and are stuck at a super early bedtime or super early wake time in the morning. If you are in this position, you can allow spring forward to "help" you get your baby's schedule a little more normal.
- Follow the Clock- This is my favorite approach. On Saturday, keep your schedule the same. On Sunday, wake your baby up at their "normal" wake up time based on what the clock says. If your baby usually wakes up at 7 AM, it will technically be 6 AM if we hadn't moved the clocks forward. Wake your baby when the clock says 7 AM and basically ignore the time change part. This is a great option if your baby is doing well on their current schedule and you like your days the way they are! It may take a couple of days to adjust from waking up "earlier". Continue with your regular meal times, play times, nap cues, and routines to help baby adjust seamlessly.
- Adjust on Saturday- If you want to adjust your baby's schedule, I recommend making the change on Saturday. On Saturday, start your day 30 minutes earlier so everything falls 30 minutes earlier on the clock than a normal day. If your normal day was 7-7, your Saturday will be 6:30-6:30. On Sunday, your day will be 3o minutes off from your normal schedule. You can either slowly transition back to your ideal start time for the day based on the clock throughout the week or make another 30 minutes shift on Sunday and then you are back to "normal" on the clock.
- Adjust Gradually- This is my least recommended option because of 2 things: 1) you have to remember to shift your schedule earlier 10-15 minutes for 5-7 days, oy! and 2) babies are unpredictable and days are never exactly the same. Your baby will most likely NOT follow along with your little shifts each day and then all that work was for nothing. If you have a super sensitive baby to schedule changes, you can attempt this approach. If you fall off the wagon half way through, resort to the Saturday adjustment!
When all else fails, just keep your baby on their routine. You can adjust after the time change, so don't stress about the prep too much! Also if your baby is younger then 3-4 months, you don't really need to worry about this as they are still taking lots of naps with not the most predictable sleep patterns and you can adjust after the fact.
Nichole @ Little Peach Sleep