Baby Waking Too Early? Daylight Savings Can Fix That. Here’s How!

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cute easter baby hugging loveyDaylight Saving Time is beginning soon and it’s your ONE opportunity each year to get your baby sleeping later in the morning. That’s right, the beginning of Daylight Savings (or “Spring Forward” as we call it in the U.S.) is the BEST thing that can happen for your baby’s sleep! (As long as you follow a few guidelines.)

If You’re Looking For Tips About Daylight Savings Ending & Clocks “Falling Back” Go Here ->

You see, the dirty little secret about sleep training is that babies can often get stuck waking early each morning. You work hard to get your baby falling asleep peacefully at bedtime and sleeping through the night. You feel great! You’ve got your energy back and you now have downtime every evening to do whatever you want (like eat a warm dinner in one sitting!) And you’re getting a solid 8 hours of sleep each night.

Life would be perfect… except for one pesky thing. Your baby’s waking too early in the morning. As in 5 or 6 am, on the dot. Saturdays included. You don’t want to complain, but you’d love an extra hour of sleep.

Here’s the good news: If your baby is caught in a pattern of waking at 6 am (or earlier) every morning, after the clocks “spring forward” she’ll wake at 7 am. Boom! Wasn’t that easy?

It can be, as long as you follow these tips.

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RELATED: How To Stop Your Toddler’s 5 am Wakings (Any Time of Year)


Spring Forward: Daylight Savings Baby & Toddler Sleep Tips

Before you decide which option is best, do a quick evaluation of your current schedule and decide if it’s working well for you. If you want your little one to wake later in the day on a regular basis, you can choose Option A. But if your baby needs to keep their current schedule, then choose Option B or C. 

We can do our best to keep our children on an “ideal schedule” but the reality is that sometimes babies will naturally adjust to the “new time” and we need to create a schedule that fits their needs.

Also keep in mind that everything needs to shift in your baby’s schedule. Nursing/bottle sessions, solid foods, nap times, bedtime, and morning wakeup time ALL need to shift with Daylight Savings. You want to keep everything in tune with your baby’s body clock so the transition goes as easy as possible.


Option A: Do Nothing To Enjoy Later Morning Wake-Ups

This option works if you’re ok with a later morning wake time and overall later Summer schedule. It also works for babies and toddlers who are adaptable to change.

Let’s say your toddler’s current schedule is: wake at 6 am, nap at 12 pm and bedtime 7 pm.  If you do nothing and the clocks move forward one hour -> your toddler will then wake at 7 am, nap at 1 pm and have a bedtime of 8 pm.

Make sure to move the entire daily schedule forward by one hour. This includes naps & meal times. Everything shifts one hour later.  (*Important- See My 4 Tips below.)


Option B: Play Catch Up

This option is for those who want to keep the same schedule they had pre-Daylight Savings. For example, if your little one needs to wake at a consistent time, year-round, to go to daycare. It works well for kids that adapt pretty well to change. It’s also best suited for parents, like me, who find it easier to play catch up after the clocks change. 

Let’s say your toddler’s current schedule is: wake at 6 am, nap at 12 pm and bedtime 7 pm. 

Saturday (night before Daylight Savings begins): Move bedtime up to 6:45 pm.

Sunday (clocks have moved forward): WAKE YOUR CHILD at 6:30 am (new time.)
Nap at 12:30 pm.
Bedtime 7 pm (if noticeably tired) or 7:30 pm latest.

Monday: Wake your child at 6 am for daycare/school.
Nap at 12 pm.
Bedtime 7 pm.

It may take a few days for your child to adjust to the time change. (*Important- See My 4 Tips below.)


Option C: Begin early

This option is also for those who want to keep the same schedule they had pre-Daylight Savings.And it’s ideal if you’re a Planner Mom who likes to get things done in advance, or if your child is slow to adapt to change. You’ll move your schedule earlier each day by 15 minutes and finish tweaking after the clocks spring forward. 

Let’s say your toddler’s current schedule is: wake at 6 am, nap at 12 pm and bedtime 7 pm. 

Start a few days before Daylight Savings begins.

ThursdayBegin your evening routine 15-20 minutes early.
Bedtime 6:45 pm.

Friday: Nap at 11:45 am (15 mins early.)
Bedtime 6:30 pm.

Saturday: Nap at 11:30 am.
Bedtime 6:15 pm.

You may want to wake your child 15 minutes earlier on Friday & Saturday morning. This can help her nap earlier & have an earlier bedtime. It’s up to you! 

Sunday (the clocks have changed): Wake your child at 6 am (new time.)
Nap at 12 pm.
Bedtime 7 pm. 

It will take a few days for your child to adjust to the time change. (*Important- See My 4 Tips below.)




4 Tips for Making This Time Change Work

Although the above steps may seem easy enough, it’s important to know that what you’re actually doing is adjusting your baby’s body clock or “circadian rhythm.”And depending on how adaptable your baby or toddler is, this may not happen so easily.


Tip #1: Prepare your baby’s sleep environment

The use of light and darkness is very effective in (re)setting the body clock. In fact, light seems to play the largest role in setting our circadian rhythm.

When our eyes sense light, they send a signal to our brain which makes us alert. Conversely, when our eyes sense darkness, they send a signal to our brain and the hormone melatonin is released. Darkness and melatonin production make us sleepy.

In addition to slowly tweaking your baby’s sleep & feeding times, you ALSO need to use light and darkness to help your baby adapt to his new sleep schedule.

My Exhausted Mom’s Starter Kit helps you create a sleep-friendly environment and has all the tips you need on darkening your baby’s bedroom. You can start all the tips tonight!


Tip #2: Get outside

Natural light, fresh air and the outside world are great stimulation that help your child burn off mental and physical energy. Children need outdoor time everyday to aid their growth and development, and it especially helps with sleep. 

  • Let your toddler run wild at your local playground longer than usual.
  • Take your baby for a 1-2 hour stroll.
  • Even if it’s cold or rainy, bundle up your little one for a quick walk around the neighborhood a few times a day. Fresh air can do wonders for your baby’s mood and overall sleep.
  • Make sure your child has the opportunity to be physically active throughout the day.


Tip #3: Watch the sugar and screen time

Avoid giving sugary foods for dinner or before naps. Yogurt and fruit are healthy, but they also have a lot of natural sugar. Keep these foods for first thing in the morning or right AFTER a nap so your baby has time to work the sugar off by moving around and being physically active. 

Shut off all screens at least 2 hours before bedtime. The blue light emitted from screens can wake up your child’s brain, making it difficult for them to relax and sleep. If you like having background noise, play relaxing music like classical or spa tunes. 


Tip #4: Use sticky notes to stay organized

Write down your child’s current schedule on a piece of paper. Make sure your schedule includes meals and milk sessions, naps, bedtime and morning wake up time. 

Then, create a new schedule for every day of the week after Daylight Savings starts. (Include new times for sleep and meals). Post it on the fridge with a sticky note for each day and try to be consistent. This will allow you to gradually adjust your baby’s body clock while you transition to new times AND will help keep you on schedule. It can be tough to figure out all of the math in your head, so having it written down can really help.

Keep your new schedule on the fridge for 1-2 weeks until it becomes your normal routine and the transition is over. 


So there you have it! The beginning of Daylight Saving Time is a wonderful gift to parents that are desperate for later morning wake-ups. If that’s you, you’ll have very little work to do (just pay attention to the 4 tips above if you encounter any problems.) Some parents, on the other hand, need to stick to their current schedules. Options B & C will guide you through the upcoming time change and help your baby adapt as easily as possible.

Good luck! Reach out to me in the comments below if you have any questions!

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1 Comment

  1. Holly Schenk

    Hi Jilly! Thank you for writing this post with such detail! I’m hopeful to get our 21 month old a little more reliable on wake time with the time change. To take advantage of the springing forward and trying to get an extra 30 minutes of sleep in the morning, would you recommend waking him at his new preferred wake time on Sunday for option 3?


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