Helping Your Baby Spring Forward for Daylight Savings Time
Daylight Saving Time is just around the corner and clocks will spring forward by one hour on Sunday, March 13, 2022.
While many people enjoy having extra time to bask in the sun, new parents may feel a sense of anxiety in losing an hour of sleep they’re already struggling to get.
Aside from shaving an hour off your family’s sleep schedule, Daylight Saving Time can also make evening routines challenging if the sun is still up at bedtime.
It’s no secret that the time change is a hassle for anyone trying to maintain a consistent schedule. And like most, you may be wondering why we do it in the first place.
In general, Daylight Saving Time (DST) gives us more time to take advantage of natural light and conserve energy.
Although modern Daylight Saving Time has only been used for about 100 years, ancient civilizations are known to have practiced it thousands of years ago.
Some sources suggest the American inventor Benjamin Franklin was the first to recommend the time change. However, his push for “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light,” was not the cause of many other countries turning their clocks forward.
The idea finally caught global recognition in 1916 when Germany, and its ally Austria, established the practice of Daylight Saving Time in 1916 to aid in World War I. They applied the practice of moving clocks forward to minimize the use of artificial lighting and save fuel for the war effort.
Since this tactic was so effective, they continued the practice of turning clocks forward one hour during World War II and it became a staple practice for over 75 countries.
How You & Baby Can Prepare for Daylight Savings Time
After an interesting turn of historical events, Daylight Saving Time has become a normal part of our lives that some people love, and some people don’t.
If you’re like many new parents, the thought of losing an hour of sleep can be intimidating.
Luckily there are a few easy ways you can prepare your family for the time change in advance.
Gradually adjust your sleep schedule
While it may be tempting to hit the snooze button on your morning alarm, waking up with the sun is the one of the easiest ways to prepare for Daylight Saving Time. As you and your baby rise and shine with the morning sun, it will only feel right to do the same once the time changes.
Expose your baby to light in the morning
Taking early morning walks will help your baby clearly recognize the transition from nighttime to daytime. While taking a walk in the morning will require a little extra effort, research suggests that spending time in nature is shown to positively impact your baby’s circadian rhythm and promote a consistent sleep schedule. Taking your baby on regular walks in a stroller and attaching their favorite bottle, sippy cup, or toy can also help foster a calmer start to the day as you both enjoy the sights and sounds outside. On the days you’re not able to go outside, opening the blinds in the morning is a great alternative to exposing your baby to sunlight.
Keeping the same schedule
If your baby is on a consistent schedule, keep the same sleeping and feeding schedule after the time changes. Although tempting, don’t shorten or lengthen your baby’s nap in attempts to help them adjust. Your baby may be a little grumpy at first but will get used to the shift after 3 to 4 days.
Keep a dark room at bedtime
If the sun is still up when your baby’s bedtime approaches, you can use blackout or darkening curtains to try and convince your little one it’s time for bed. You’ll also want to turn down the lighting on night lights and turn off any bright lights or TVs 30-60 minutes before bed so your baby isn’t too stimulated before bed.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
Some sleep specialists suggest that even if you don’t make any changes to help prepare your baby for Daylight Saving Time, they will still adjust with time.
The Bright Side of Daylight Saving Time
While Daylight Saving Time may save you a few dollars on your energy bill, it’s just not ideal for new parents.
If you dread the time change like many do, try to consider some of the perks.
You’ll have more time in the day to incorporate activities for your family to enjoy, like late afternoon playdates or early evening walks.
You’ll also get more hours to run errands in the warmth of the sun and avoid traveling in the dark.
Whatever way you choose to prepare for the time change…hang in there! You and your baby will get back into the swing of things in no time.