Early Riser? Take Advantage of the Spring Time Change to Help Your Child Sleep Later



Are you part of the sleep deprived parents club? Struggling to get your children more sleep?  I have a particularly special place in my heart for those parents who have an early riser. And when I say an early riser, I don’t just mean a babe who wakes up at 6AM—I am talking about those parents who have children that wake up in the 5 o’clock, or even 4 o’clock hour.  I firmly believe that no one should have to wake up before 6AM, especially not parents—Lord knows we need our rest!

If you are a parent with children that sleep past 6AM, read no further and check out my article about how to acclimate your child to Daylight Savings Time.

If you are the not-so-lucky parent of an early riser don’t freak out, let me help! You, my friend, are going to take FULL advantage of the upcoming change to Daylight Savings Time (DST) and correct those early wakings once and for all.  Hooray! So, when the clock springs ahead, that means your child will naturally wake up an hour later. Well, at least according to the clock. Just think: 6AM instead of 5!  Isn’t it crazy to think of 6AM as an “acceptable” wake time?

To make Daylight Savings Time work to your advantage, you have two options:

1.  Gradually move bedtime, nap time and the feeding schedule up by an hour using the plan below, starting on the first day of the time change, which is Sunday 3/14.  At the end of the process, your children will be going to bed at the usual “clock time,” but it will feel an hour earlier to their body. So, their body will still wake up at the usual time, but the clock will say that it is an hour later.  They will be getting an extra hour of sleep at night as a result.

This is my preferred option as most early wakings are caused by over-tiredness!

The Plan:

  • Day 1 and 2: Put your child down for their nap(s) and bedtime 40 minutes later (which will only feel 15 minutes early to them).
    • For example, if they typically nap at 1PM and go to bed at 7PM, their timing on day 1 would be nap at 1:45PM. and bedtime at 7:45PM.
  • Day 3 and 4: Put your child down for their nap(s) and bedtime 30 minutes later than usual.  
  • Day 5 and 6: Put your child down for their nap(s) and bedtime 15 minutes later than usual.
  • Day 7: You’ll be back to your normal “clock schedule,” but will be waking up an hour later than normal.

2. If you have tried an earlier bedtime in the past and it only resulted in an earlier wake time, then you’ll want to shift everything—bed time, nap time and the feeding schedule—by one hour. This way, your child’s body clock doesn’t change, but they will be sleeping later according to Daylight Savings Time.  

For example, if your child’s schedule is

  • 5AM wake up
  • 8AM nap #1
  • 1PM nap #2
  • 7PM bed time

Your child’s new schedule after the time change would be

  • 6AM wake up
  • 9AM nap #1
  • 2PM nap #2
  • 8PM bed time

(I know this it isn’t rocket science but, if you are sleep deprived, this little gem may have slipped your mind).

Hopefully, one of the plans above helps your little one sleep until an appropriate hour.  If not, don’t give up hope. Sleep is very complex and that is why I am here to help. Let’s talk it out!  Feel free to send me a DM on Instagram – instagram.com/thesleepinghouse or send me an email – danielle@thesleeping.com

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Early Riser? Take Advantage of the Spring Time Change to Help Your Child Sleep Later


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