SPRING AHEAD PREPAREDNESS GUIDE 2023
Updated: Mar 13
Raise your hand if just the thought of the Daylight Savings time change has your parental head spinning you into a state of utter fear and anxiety and reaching for that extra cup (or pot) of coffee! While our cell phones and smart devices will instantaneously adjust, our children’s bodies (and our own) will not. Have no fear, Happy Littles Spring Ahead Preparedness Guide is HERE!
Sunday March 12th, 2023 at 2 AM
WHAT IT MEANS:
By pushing the time later Sunday morning our bodies will think it’s 6:00 AM when really it’s 7:00 AM. If we wake up naturally Sunday morning this will result in us waking up an hour later. For example if you usually naturally wake up around 7:00 AM you may wake up at 8:00 AM because your body still thinks it's 7:00 AM while the clock says it's 8:00 AM.
By the time Sunday night rolls around we’ll be asking our bodies to go to bed a whole hour earlier. This means if we go to bed at 7:30 PM our bodies will feel like it’s 6:30 PM. For easily adaptable sleepers this is no big deal. For more sensitive sleepers, children who are already fighting bedtime, or younger children/babies with more than one nap per day this can result in what feels like disaster! There are several things that parents can do to prepare and deal with the Spring Ahead time change.
If you have a child who is an early riser, rejoice(!) and take advantage of the time change! Your child will sleep later for at least a few mornings. Some children are naturally earlier risers and in these cases, their wake up time will naturally move earlier again without intervention. Bedtimes may be tricky for up to a week as your child’s body clock adjusts to the new time, so be patient. Follow my "Spring Ahead Tips and Tricks" at the end to make the transition faster.
If your child is on a good schedule already and is adaptable (your child sleeps well under changing conditions ie at grandparents’ houses and on trips and does well with changes in his/her schedule) let things happen naturally. The first few days your child will likely sleep in later but then will adjust to the new time naturally. Follow my "Spring Ahead Tips and Tricks" at the end to make the transition faster.
PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME:
If you have a sensitive sleeper or you have a younger baby who takes more than 1 nap per day you can ease into the time change by making some simple schedule changes ahead of time.
Start on the Wednesday before the March 12th time change by moving bedtime and nap(s) earlier by 15 minutes each day. By making these minor adjustments ahead of time your child will be exactly on time for Spring Ahead.
If bedtime is usually 7:30 PM here is what this will look like.
· Wednesday: Bedtime at 7:15 PM
· Thursday: Bedtime at 7:00 PM
· Friday: Bedtime at 6:45 PM
· Saturday: Bedtime at 6:30 PM
· Sunday: Bedtime at 7:30 PM (normal time) and resume naps at regular times
**Don’t forget to move naps earlier by 15 minutes Wednesday-Saturday too!
SPRING AHEAD TIPS AND TRICKS:
Whether you do nothing or prepare ahead follow these 5 pieces of advice to make the transition as fast and painless as possible:
1. Consistent Wake Up Time:
Don’t let your child sleep later than their normal wake up time for more than a few days or a week at most unless you had an earlier riser and now you don’t. Waking in the morning at the same time every day will help to reset your child’s body clock faster. It's one of the few time points during the day that we can use as an anchor for the rest of the days planned sleeps.
This can also be a really great time to start implementing an "okay to wake" clock if you haven't already been using one with your toddler. Since they're sleeping later naturally in the morning, they'll have a few days where they can successfully sleep until the desired time when the clock changes color/lights up.
By starting off on this positive note, they'll be more likely to comply again and again. Check out my post on "okay to wake"/toddler clocks here to learn more about how to effectively initiate using one.
If you'd like to take this opportunity to help your pre-school or toddler age child to sleep later longer term with the help of Daylight Saving Time, then read my post on this topic! Now is your chance to see if your toddler can sleep a little later!
Once your child is up for the day get outside! Exposure to natural sunlight, especially in the morning and late afternoon hours, can help our children (and us parents too) naturally adjust their internal clocks and regulatory hormones.
Maintain a consistent eating and sleeping schedule as best as you can during the adjustment period barring any pre Spring Ahead preparations you are making.
4. Bedtime Routine:
Maintain your bedtime routine throughout the change. One hour to 30 minutes before bedtime start to dim the lights and tone down the activity level. Shut off screens as these emit stimulating lights that can make it more difficult for children to fall asleep. *If you didn't do any prep work ahead of the time change then remember that for the first night or two after the time change your child's body will feel like it's an hour earlier than what the clocks says at bedtime. If bedtime is usually 7:30pm then their body will feel like it's 6:30pm. Make bedtime up to 45 minutes later the first night, then gradually make it 15 minutes earlier each night until you land back at 7:30pm. The same goes for naps!
Make sure your child’s room is dark and cave like. Keep any bright and especially blue lights out of your child’s room.
Whether or not you make any preparations ahead of time, know that the Spring Ahead time change means Spring is almost here! If you live somewhere with frigid winters like I do this may be enough to compensate for any lost sleep! If bedtime was already a battlefield in your house you’ll definitely want to follow my schedule for Spring Ahead preparedness. You also may want to consider giving me a call as well...... Happy Spring!
(Updated March 11th, 2023)