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Even though there is snow on the ground where I live and in many parts of the U.S. today, spring is just around the corner! That also means it’s almost time to “spring forward” by adjusting our clocks forward an hour. Daylight Savings Time will occur this year at 2:00 AM on Sunday, March 8th, 2015.

There are a couple of different ways to make the transition:

Cold Turkey Approach:

For those of you who have an early riser, this may be a great approach! It can sometimes be the chance you need to help your child start to sleep later. For that reason, many parents think this is the good time change. Basically, on Sunday, you will use your regular schedule but do everything according to the new clock time. Just act like it is a normal day.

*I really only recommend this approach if your child is older than two and seems to have an easier time with changes/transitions.

Admittedly, this is usually the approach I take and my children adjust relatively quickly. Maybe it’s because they are well-rested or because I stay consistent. Whatever the reason, I’m not complaining!

Gradual Approach:

For children younger than two, or children who have a harder time with changes/transitions it’s better to make the switch gradually. Here’s how:

Starting about a week before the time change, move your child’s wake up time, bedtime, and nap times earlier by 15 minutes every other day.

For example: If your child’s usual bedtime is 7:00 pm, you will move it to 6:45 pm, then 6:30 pm, then 6:15 pm, then 6:00 pm. When the time changes, 6:00 pm will become 7:00 pm and they will be back at their usual bedtime. That way the time change won’t feel so drastic on Saturday night.

Tips no Matter Which Approach You Use:

  • 2 words: Black-out shades! This time of year mornings will be brighter and evenings lighter and we don’t want sunlight waking your child up in the morning or causing any bedtime battles.
  • Make sure your child gets good naps for the few days before the time shift.
  • Avoid bright lights in the evening, including any screens like the TV, computer, or iPad.
  • Getting fresh air and exposure to bright light first thing in the morning will help reset the internal body clock. Try to get outside as much as possible on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Try to do everything according to the new clock time starting Sunday. This means all meals and sleep times. Wake your child up at their regular time on Sunday morning (as long as it is after 6 am), even though it will feel an hour earlier to them.

When we “spring forward” it can take a week or two for your child’s body to adjust to the time change. Remember that all children are different. Some will barely seem to notice the change but for others, taking an hour of sleep away can be hard. If you get stuck or continue to struggle with your child’s sleep, please contact me to see how I can help: Contact Tara!