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How to Survive Daylight Savings Time with a Baby or Toddler

Daylight Savings Time is coming up on Sunday and I quickly wanted to share How to Survive Daylight Savings Time with a Baby or Toddler with what I did during the fall Daylight Savings Time Change (and what I’m doing this week for the Spring Daylight Savings Time Change) so that the twins adjusted to the one hour difference. 

For one week prior to the time change, I make 10 minute daily adjustments to their entire routine (wake up time, feedings, naps, bedtime, etc.) so that when the Daylight Savings Time Change rolls around on Sunday, we’re already on schedule with the new time and I’m not hit with two cranky toddlers. It’s nice because it’s a gradual adjustment, but it does take a bit of planning and the key is sticking to the routine for the week. 

Honestly, which way to adjust the schedule for these sleep adjustments really confuses me and I have to write it all down in order to figure it out, so I thought it would be great if I just wrote it down here on the blog so I could easily read my own blog post again in November and again next March and apply it to whatever new routine we’re on.

I think the reason it confuses me is because we call the two time changes Spring Forward and Fall Back, but for the Spring Forward time change, I actually pull the babies routine “back” 10 minutes each day until we’re one hour back and we’re then ready to “Spring Forward” one hour to our regular schedule. Then for the Fall Back time change, I push the babies routine forward 10 minutes each day until we’re one hour ahead and then we “Fall Back” to our regular schedule. Does that make sense?

A written out schedule is below for further clarification. How to Survive Daylight Savings Time with a Baby or Toddler, How to Adjust Your Baby or Toddler for Daylight Savings Time Change, Daylight Savings Time Sleep Adjustments for Babies & Toddlers, Prepping Child for Daylight Savings Time, Spring Forward with Baby or Toddler, Fall Back with Baby or Toddler, How Can I Help My Baby Adjust to Time ChangeI used to be fairly strict with the twins’ routine because staying on a routine makes for two babies who take regular naps and sleep through the night. However, as they’ve gotten older, I’m a bit more lenient with their routine – they wake up when they wake up (sometime between 6:50am and 8am, but it’s usually Wren waking up at 7:26am), they take a nap 3 hours later, we do a snack, playtime, lunch, playtime, then they take a nap 3ish hours after they last woke up if we’re at home. But I make sure they don’t sleep much past 4pm for that second nap because they go to bed at 7pm. But for this week, I’m going to make sure we’re on a stricter routine just so we can really make those 10-minute per day adjustments so we don’t feel the hour so much when the time changes next Sunday night.

If this is confusing and you need to see it broken down, here’s what their schedule looks like this week in regards to wakeup time, their second nap wake up time, and bedtime. Just for reference, for this Spring Daylight Savings 2019, the twins are 14-months old. Just to be clear, this is an adjustment for toddlers who have a regular bedtime, NOT for babies who are still on their own schedule.

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Spring Daylight Savings Time Change – 10 Minutes a Day Toddler Adjustment Schedule

On Sunday the week prior to the time change, their routine is normal, the babies go to bed at 7pm. But starting on Monday, I wake them up (if they’re not already up) 10 minutes earlier than normal at 7:20am, and they go to bed 10 minutes earlier than normal at 6:50pm. Here’s the full week:

  • Sunday: Wake up normal time 7:30. Wake up from second nap no later than 4pm. Bedtime at 7pm.
  • Monday: Wake up earlier 7:20. Wake up from second nap no later than 3:50pm. Bedtime at 6:50pm.
  • Tuesday: Wake up earlier 7:10. Wake up from second nap no later than 3:40pm. Bedtime at 6:40pm.
  • Wednesday: Wake up earlier 7:00. Wake up from second nap no later than 3:30pm. Bedtime at 6:30pm.
  • Thursday: Wake up earlier 6:50. Wake up from second nap no later than 3:20pm. Bedtime at 6:20pm.
  • Friday: Wake up earlier 6:40. Wake up from second nap no later than 3:10pm. Bedtime at 6:10pm.
  • Saturday: Wake up earlier 6:30. Wake up from second nap no later than 3:00pm. Bedtime at 6:00pm.
  • Daylight Savings Time Change Occurs
  • Sunday: Back on the normal schedule. Wake up normal time 7:30. Bedtime at 7pm.

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And here’s how it works for the Fall Daylight Savings Time Change schedule: For pushing the wake up time, sometimes they wake up earlier, but I don’t go into their room until that day’s “wake up time.” They’ll slowly adjust to the new wake up time.

Fall Daylight Savings Time Change – 10 Minutes a Day Toddler Adjustment Schedule

  • Sunday: Wake up normal time 7:30. Wake up from second nap no later than 4pm. Bedtime at 7pm.
  • Monday: Wake up later at 7:40. Wake up from second nap no later than 4:10pm. Bedtime at 7:10pm.
  • Tuesday: Wake up later 7:50. Wake up from second nap no later than 4:20pm. Bedtime at 7:20pm.
  • Wednesday: Wake up later 8:00. Wake up from second nap no later than 4:30pm. Bedtime at 7:30pm.
  • Thursday: Wake up later 8:10. Wake up from second nap no later than 4:40pm. Bedtime at 7:40pm.
  • Friday: Wake up earlier 8:20. Wake up from second nap no later than 4:50pm. Bedtime at 7:50pm.
  • Saturday: Wake up earlier 8:30. Wake up from second nap no later than 5:00pm. Bedtime at 8:00pm.
  • Daylight Savings Time Change Occurs
  • Sunday: Back on the normal schedule. Wake up normal time 7:30. Bedtime at 7pm.

This daily adjustment worked really well for me for the Daily Savings Time Change in Fall of 2018, so I’m hoping this week goes smoothly as well. I suggest that you, the caregiver, also try going to bed earlier every day as well so you’re not feeling the affect of the time change as hard on Sunday either. It’s always an adjustment and this way we’re just trying to lessen the shock to the system.

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And if you’re looking for help getting your baby to sleep or to stay asleep, I recommend black out curtains (I’m also looking into installing black out roll down shades in addition to the curtains), no lights on in the room, and 1-2 white noise sound machines. The twins both still sleep with their pacifiers and I keep two in both their cribs at night so they can easily reach out and find one if they wake up in the middle of the night.

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Do you do something different to adjust your toddler for Daylight Savings Time, maybe just 15 minutes a day starting on Wednesday, or do you just let your baby wake you up earlier /later and complain and drink lots of coffee all day? Let me know in a comment!

 

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