Warmer weather is coming here in the northern hemisphere!! With it comes the beginning of Daylight Saving Time (DST) when we move our clocks one hour AHEAD. This year in the US it starts on Sunday, March 10th starting at 2AM. In Europe, it starts on Sunday, March 31st.
Did you know that it starts and ends on different days around the world? It’s also not followed by every state or country.
So, if you’re in a place that follows DST and you’re moving an hour ahead, there are a few options in how you can adjust to the new time.
Start a few days prior to DST so that by the time that Sunday rolls around you’re already on track.
Wait until the Sunday of DST to make that adjustment.
Do nothing and have a later schedule for the longer days ahead.
Head Start to Daylight Saving Time
Personally, this feels like more effort than I want to put into it. (It’s all in my head though… It’s not really more work, it’s the same work, just done earlier. And backward.)
Obviously, this isn’t my go-to option, but some families prefer this way and that’s great! This is how it goes:
Starting the Monday before DST (so, this year you’d start on Monday, March 7th) through Thursday, you’ll adjust your child’s schedule back by 30 minutes. (Because the following week at the same time it will feel like an hour earlier.) So, for example...
On Friday adjust the schedule back another 30 minutes and you’ll be set for the time change come Sunday!
If the 30 minutes feels too much, you can be more gradual in your change by adjusting their schedule backward in 15-minute increments every 2-3 days until they reach your desired schedule.
Right on time
The second option is to wait until the Sunday of DST and adjust your schedule forward by 15-30 minutes starting with the morning wake up. (It’s going to feel like 15-30 minutes earlier to your child.)
Sundays are common “off” or “flexible” days, so you may not be able to/want to do any adjusting quite yet.
If that’s the case, tweak the schedule how you need to and start the forward adjustment of the schedule either with the afternoon nap (if it’s even going to be on schedule), with bedtime, or starting Monday morning.
You’ll use the same concept described in the “Head Start” section above, just move the schedule ahead instead of behind. Like so:
If your child doesn’t take a nap, you don’t need to gradually adjust their schedule, just jump right into the new time at bedtime on Sunday night. Be sure they’re able to get all their energy out that day! Since their bedtime is going to feel an hour earlier, you can add in some additional high-energy playtime before their bedtime routine to help them settle better for sleep.
This last option is great for families that love spending the summer evenings outside. Having that extra hour of awake time in the evenings allows for more freedom.
However, I do recommend that bedtime be no later than 8pm for children 3 and under and no later than 8:30pm for children 4-5. No matter how great the day goes, with or without a nap, it’s very common for little ones to catch a second wind in the 8 o’clock hour (also known as becoming over-tired), causing them to struggle to get to sleep. No bueno.
This “do nothing” option is also meant for all newborn families. Your baby hasn’t established a consistent schedule yet, so there’s no need to worry about adjusting anything. Keep focusing on your health and well-being, routines, and wake windows.
It takes about a week for all of us to adjust to the new time. Taking a gradual approach by adjusting your schedule by 15-30 minutes every 3-4 days will help your child’s (and your) body acclimate.
Unless you’re doing nothing. In that case, enjoy your evenings together!
Whatever you decide to do, be sure your blackout solution is in place so your little one can get to sleep even with the sun still shining at 8pm! (Man, I can't wait!!)