Daylight Savings Time is coming! Change your clocks when you go to sleep Saturday night because as of 2:00am on Sunday, March 12, we’re springing forward one hour. This means we “lose an hour” of sleep. Adults are used to just rolling with the time change and reaching for a cup of coffee, but the time change can be a little tougher on your young children.
Little kids might have a harder time going down for their naps while they get used to the adjusted schedule. Or you might have to calm a fussy baby or toddler who is waking up at a strange time of night. Whenever their routine changes, especially if they can’t tell why, your little one might be crankier than usual while they adjust.
We talked to moms in our community to bring you some tips that will hopefully make the time change an easier one for the whole family.
Adjust Kids Bedtime
Some parents have luck with the time change by adjusting their kids’ bedtimes by 10-15 minutes per night over the course of a few days. Alternatively, you could make everyone’s bedtime an hour earlier the weekend of DST.
“I adjust bedtime by 10 minute intervals. Infants wake when they wake, so you’re just stuck with that, but toddlers and school age kids do better with a gradual change.” - Holly S.
“Go to bed an hour earlier to make things easier on everyone. Otherwise, leave everything the same. Say nothing about the time change to them. They can’t tell time, so the only way they’re going to know something is off is from you.” -Renee L.
Stick To The Routine
Some parents find that just maintaining the routine their kids are used to helps the most. For children, routine is key and anything that throws it off can lead to a meltdown! Avoid this potential pitfall by playing it cool and acting like everything is normal (even if you have to grab an extra cup of coffee as soon as they’re dropped off at daycare).
“The kids will adjust on their own the same way we do. We prepare for school or daycare the night before and wake up like normal.” -Lydia R.
“Bedtime is different, but waking up is the same. They eventually get used to it.” -Auna K.
“I hate DST because I hate dropping her off in the dark after the time change, but we don’t make any changes to our routine leading up to it.” - Misty W.
Spring Forward vs. Fall Back
The fall time change might provide more of a challenge since kids will wake up at their usual time when the clock says it’s only 5:00 instead. They just don’t get that “extra hour” memo. Many of our mamas report needing more prep for the fall time change than spring, so you have plenty of time to plan!
“I adjust in the fall by pushing bedtime later for a week, but I just roll with it in the spring.” -Kat B.
Our community had some more good advice when it comes to the overall transition. If kids can’t tell time on the clock, they’re probably using cues like sunrise and sunset to mark their usual routine. When we spring forward, the sun is still out at bedtime and this can be confusing! Try blackout curtains to keep them from noticing that it still looks like playtime outside. Also, try to cut them some slack if it takes them a while to get used to the change.
“Be ready to explain that bedtime isn’t when it gets dark. My kids always have trouble with that.” - Holly S.
“Don’t stress if it takes a bit to get them settled at night for a while.” -Samantha B.
“Like everything else, be aware that your toddler is picking up his cues about the world around him primarily from you.” - Renee L.
What About You?
What are your tried and true tips for getting through the time change? Is this your first Daylight Saving Time as a parent, or are you a seasoned expert?