Sleep Training: How to Navigate the Spring Time Change

Oh, hey spring.

Me: trying to put a positive spin on the time change this weekend and miserably failing. “Spring” is about the only good thing about “springing ahead” for the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. (Spring is just two weeks away, but you sure wouldn’t know it here in Calgary, Alberta!) That and if you have little ones that have been getting up extra early, they’ll now wake up an hour later. Win!

If you have this sleep thing down and you’re starting to feel a creeping sense of dread related to changing your clocks this weekend, I feel you. As parents, we’re already sleep deprived, and now we’re going to lose an hour of sleep for basically no reason. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

But like it or not, the outdated tradition of Daylight Saving Time is coming. You may be confused about how you should keep your baby’s sleep schedule in tact. Do you put baby to sleep as if nothing has changed? Do you keep them on the same schedule? If they were going to bed at 7, do they now go to bed at 8? Here’s what I usually recommend: Divide it in half!

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The reality is, your child is on the schedule they’re on because it works both with their internal clock and your daily routines. You likely can’t have your child going to bed and waking up an hour later, on the clock. You also can’t really just shift your child’s bedtime and naps by an hour all at once. It would be very hard on your little one, and you, when they end up being miserable. BUT a half hour is doable.

Here’s what I mean: When you set the clock ahead, change bedtime and naptime by 30 minutes. If naptime was 1 pm, now it’s 1:30 pm. Bedtime at 8? Change it to 8:30.

I’m not saying it’s going to be a seamless transition, but it should only take a few days for them to adjust to the new schedule.

The most important part: Be sure to keep the same bedtime routine! Whatever you do, don’t change that routine, just start it a half hour earlier than you normally would.

If your current schedule is exactly what you need, you could change naps and bedtime by 15 minute increments over 4 days, too. Some families find that method works for them.

No matter how you choose to handle Daylight Saving Time, it’s not going to be ideal. Hopefully some day this ridiculous tradition will be abolished, and we won’t need to go into panic mode twice a year!

Oh! And don’t forget to check your smoke alarms and CO2 detectors! Make checking them at the beginning and end of DST a tradition that improves your family’s safety!