Daylight Savings “Springing” Forward



Springing Forward often causes parents more concern than Falling Back, because surely it is easier to fall asleep later than usual than earlier than usual, RIGHT?!

I like to simplify all the overwhelming information that circulates around the time change.  If you read my blog post about “Falling Back” you will know how much I encouraged you to use light, natural and artificial, at bedtime to help little ones adjust to the Fall time change.

Now with the Spring Forward in the clocks, we are going to use the lack of light to help naturally tigger earlier sleepiness. I encourage you to dim the light 1 hour prior to bedtime. This means you need to have dimmers, black out curtains, black poster board or trash bags and painters tape on hand to bulk up your darkness game starting on Wednesday.  The dimming of the lights also includes turning off iPads, iPhones, tablets, television shows, and other stimulating screens.  If you have other questions about my recommendations on screen time before bed, feel free to read my post on Screen Time Truths.

Time Change Tips:

Take a deep breath, continue to be thoughtful in reading YOUR child’s cues, stay calm and confident.

Select between TWO options:

Option A:  Do nothing, wing it, follow your child’s cues and adjust schedule if needed starting Sunday.

Option B:  Shift Schedule forward starting Wednesday to give yourself 4 days to shift bedtime up.  Wake from last nap of the day 15 minutes earlier than normal in order to be able to shift bedtime 15 minutes earlier AND wake your child each morning 15 minutes earlier than usual to fit the new Sunday morning target wake up time.  {I know this is the most brutal suggestion, but it will have the best pay off down the road.}  Repeat this method for each of the four days so that when you reach the day the time shifts, your child’s new schedule will match her pre-DST schedule.

Darken bedtime zone 1 hour before bedtime to naturally signal the hormone release to move them into a sleepier state.  This means no outside play (move it to first thing in the morning instead the first week) and no exposure to screens at this time.  Dim lights and quieter voices are great signals for young children to start calming their bodies for sleep.

Make sure you are consistent with your response and reinforcing boundaries for sleep as you guide your child through the time change. You don’t want to build in a new crutch.

How do naps work if I decide to move up bedtime and wake time 15 minutes each day for 4 days?

You have a young infant and you still watch the awake time intervals and balance that with your baby’s sleepy cues to know when to but her down for naps.  Continue with this plan, but be sure to wake from naps when needed to protect the next sleep session and insure that your baby is not getting too much day sleep.


You have a child that naps at a predictable time each day. Apply the 15 minute earlier a day strategy to help with the adjustment.


Still feeling apprehensive about this time change thing that everyone thought was a good idea way back in 1918?

Think about your child’s needs.  Think about your schedule.  What can you be consistent with for a week to get through the adjustment?

PREPARE Decide what approach your family will take to adjust to “loosing an hour” or “springing forward.”

WATCH Watch nap durations to make sure children do not get too much day sleep.

USE LIGHT AS A SIGNAL Dim light ONE hour before bedtime.  Move evening outdoor playtime to the morning to help with the transition to an earlier bedtime.

Most #happysleepers that already sleep well because their parents have firm boundaries for sleep in place adjust to the time change in a few days.  A small percentage of children require a gradual adjustment and take a week or two to settle in.

Have more questions?  Would you like a sleep expert to weigh in on your current sleep routines?  Schedule a free 15-minute call to learn more about how Sleep Happy services can your help you reach your sleep dreams by following this link: 


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