6 Tips to Help Your Baby Adjust to the Time Change
Babies don’t know much about springing forward and falling back, but being prepared for a seasonal time change involves a few simple steps that can make the transition smooth, for both you and your baby. Implement some simple bedtime changes in the days and weeks leading up to the time change to help your little one weather the shifting hours with ease. Even if the time change has already come and gone, you can still work some of these tips into your daily routine to help the little ones adjust to the new schedule.
Settle into a Cozy Nighttime Routine
If you don’t already have a nighttime routine, you can start easing into one in the weeks leading up to the time change. Start with a soothing bath and cuddle your baby in a cozy hooded towel to dry off. Pamper her with some soothing lavender lotion and a massage to relax. Then offer a bedtime story or song and a cuddly rock in the glider to help usher in the Sandman.
Shift Your Baby’s Bedtime
To prepare for the clock moving forward or back, give your baby’s bedtime a nudge in the right direction in the days before the change happens. If you are springing forward, consider shifting bedtime forward by 5 to 10 minutes a night each night before the time change in order to help your child adjust to the new schedule. Similarly, you can move your little one’s bedtime back by 5 to 10 minutes each night leading up to the end of Daylight Savings Time. Use your nighttime routine and blackout curtains, if needed, to help your baby adjust to the new schedule.
Check Your Baby’s Sleep Environment
Set your child up for sleep success with a comfortable, safe and quiet sleeping area. Change crib sheets and freshen up the room to make it an inviting place for nighttime sleep. Arrange the baby monitor so that you can see and hear when your baby is catching up on rest and to give you peace of mind while you go through the time change.
Reinforce Day and Night Routines
Use day and night activities to help your baby naturally distinguish between periods of time for sleeping and wakefulness. Follow a regular feeding and play schedule during the day to keep activities predictable. Put your baby down for regular naps in the crib both during the day and night.
Keep the Schedule Light
If you can, try to keep your schedule light in the days surrounding the time change in order to give your child time to adjust. Engage in fun activities at home or get out and play with short walks to the neighborhood park in the days after the time change. Keeping the schedule light helps you both relax a little more as you make the adjustment.
Help Older Siblings Adjust
Your youngest may not be the only one feeling a little out of sorts in the days surrounding the time change. Older siblings – particularly toddlers – also experience the challenges of adjusting to their schedules being moved ahead or back by one hour, and they may have a few mood swings along the way. Following some of the same patterns that you do with your baby can help them to adjust as well. For instance, shifting your baby’s and toddler’s bedtimes back by a few minutes a night can help both children to adjust at the same time, so that the entire family can welcome in the change together. Even moving a toddler’s mealtimes and play activities can help everyone start to acclimate to the Daylight Saving time changes ahead of schedule.
Using these pointers can help both you and your baby to adjust to seasonal time changes in spring and fall. Sticking to nighttime routines and shifting them to fit with the new time can give your baby the ability to make the change smoothly. Consistency helps babies anticipate the order of activities that precede bedtime and can help to give them more restful sleep all year long.