I feel like it was just yesterday that I was blogging about the end of daylight savings time and now it is time to “spring forward” the clocks. It can be a dreaded time for parents of young children because the adjustment does not usually happen immediately. This is because children tend to be more structured in their bedtime and wake up around the same time each morning and that is why people usually can see a greater effect on children when the time changes. The good news is that this time change can get you an extra hour of sleep in the morning so if you have an early riser, instead of waking at 6am, they will wake at 7am!
Even though this is typically the easier transition of the time change, there are some things you can do to help make it go a little smoother. My recommendation is to leave your clock alone Saturday night. Wake up Sunday morning, have breakfast, then go around your house and change your clocks. Psychologically, it will feel much better for everyone if you wait until Sunday morning to change the time.
My best advice for children to help them with the change is to split the difference with the old time and the new time. How does that work? If you have a child that does not nap and normally goes to bed at 7:00pm, you would put him to bed at 7:30pm on Sunday night, the first night of the time change. Do this for 3 nights, putting him to bed 30 minutes later than normal, then on the 4th night put him to bed at the normal time, 7:00pm or whatever is normal bedtime for your child.
If you have a toddler ages one and older, on Sunday the first day of the time change, you would put him for his first nap 30 minutes later than normal. So if he naps at 9:30am usually, you would put him down at 10:00am. You would do the same with the afternoon nap if he takes an afternoon nap. For bedtime, if his normal bedtime is 7:00pm, you would put him down at 7:30pm. Do this for 3 nights after the time change and then on the 4th night, put him to bed at 7:00pm and on 5th day move naptimes back to normal time. So if your child naps at 9:30am, put him down at 9:30am and so on with the rest of the day.
If you have a baby and his bedtime has become predictable (usually over 6 months old) meaning he is always going to bed around the same time each night. For example, if bedtime is normally 7:00pm move bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night until you reach the normal time. So the first night you would put him down at 7:45pm, the second night 7:30pm, and so on. In four nights you should be back to 7:00pm. If their bed is not predictable (0-6 months old) simply jump to the new time Sunday night as if you were traveling to a new time zone.