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

 

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 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.

This post may contain affiliate links.

 

Hear Jilly Explain How You Can Work Daylight Savings To Your Advantage

 

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

 

Spring Forward: Daylight Savings Baby & Toddler Sleep Tips

 

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 pretty 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.

*Important- See My 3 Tips below

The Next 2 Options Are For Those Who Want To Keep Their Current Schedule

 

Option B: Quick & Easy to Follow

This option 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 3 Tips below

 

Option C: Begin early

This is 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 daily 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 3 Tips below

3 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.

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.

 

Tip #1: Once the clocks move forward, the sun will set later.

It’s essential that you dim the household lights 1-2 hours before your child’s bedtime. This reduction in light helps your little one relax enough to be able to fall asleep.

  • Close the curtains.
  • Turn off bright overhead lights.
  • Turn on soft lamps.
  • Shut off all electronics and the TV.
  • Hang 100% blackout curtains in your child’s bedroom.

 

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Tip #2: GET OUTSIDE! 

Natural light, fresh air and the outside world are great stimulation that help your child burn off extra energy.

  • Let your toddler run wild at your local playground longer than usual.
  • Take your baby for a 1-2 hour stroll.
  • Weather not cooperating? Arrange an indoor play date or go to a Mommy/Baby class.

 

Tip #3: Be patient

It takes about one week for our body clocks to adjust to a time change. The above tips will help this transition go smoothly, but it’s best to be patient in the first day or two.

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 3 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!

Let’s stay connected!

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?

    Reply

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