Surviving Daylight Savings with Kids


How many people reading this are parents and aware daylight savings is this weekend?  I reached out to a friend, Lauren, from Sleep and the City who is an amazing 3 times certified sleep consultant, helping parents of kids ages 0-6 get their babies and kiddos sleeping through the night and nap times too to weigh in on the best tactics for surviving daylight savings with kids.   She has 2 beautiful kids herself, and will always answer any questions you have, elaborate on this information, and help you all survive Daylight Savings with your kids happily.

two toddlers looking at baby in a crib

Ok let’s start with: The “After” Schedule

I have a good friend nearby who always “conveniently” travels for work whenever there is a minor sleep issue or time change happening in her house, and we joke that it isn’t accidental that she leaves her husband to deal with it.  Last year, same time change, she left for a 3 day work trip the night before the switch.  Hubby was happy his little angel slept in an extra hour that sunny Sunday morning, but horrified when his “easy-to-bed” daughter screamed for a full hour after lights out night after night.  Was he doing something differently than Mom?  Was she just being difficult?  Or maybe she was hungry?  This went on for three full nights, until his wife finally returned home….and everything had gone back to “normal”.  The husband was completely stumped and the wife calling his bluff- so how did this all come about to begin with?

Here’s what happened.

Every child has a night here or there where they test the waters with your authority, which is super common, don’t worry.  However, in my business I look for PATTERNS, or a sleep issue that occurs more than 2-3 nights in a row, which indicates that something is up.  Although the sweet toddler below was used to getting up at 7am (which was now 8am), Daddy tried to put her down for bed at her NORMAL bedtime of 8pm (which, YUP, was actually 7pm prior to the change, a whole hour earlier than normal).  Bingo!

 Confused?  Me too.  

Here is a sample Before & After 1-Nap schedule:


Wake at 7am

Nap 1pm

Bedtime at 8pm

*They will wake up an hour later on Sunday (which really isn’t an hour later but looks like it, make sense?*


Wake at 8am

Nap at 2pm

Bedtime at 9pm

 So that was a great example if you’d like your babe to continue sleeping in, but now going to bed at 9pm.  This schedule may work for some, but what if you have a young baby or toddler that goes to school?  Or you have to leave for work early in the morning and can’t afford the luxury of kiddos sleeping until 8am?

Here’s where you have to ask yourself:  SLEEP IN……OR GO TO BED EARLY? (Buzzkill: You can’t have both when you have kids.)

But with the Spring Forward Daylight Savings time change, now you have the option to choose (Pop, Fizz, Clink and cheers all around!!).

If you chose Sleep In:

You’ll have to now stick to the “After” schedule religiously.  Need a new custom schedule to follow?  Click here to snag yours.

If you chose Go to Bed Early:

You’ll have to slowly work back to your “Current” or “Before” schedule by putting your child down for nap 30 minutes later, and down for bedtime 30 minutes laterfor at least 5-7 days.  If you’re using the “after” schedule to achieve this, then naptime would be 1:30pm, and 8:30pm bedtime.  After a full week, move nap back to your “before time” and bedtime back to your “before bedtime” and your child should begin waking at the normal time again.  Did that make sense?  Email me if you need two examples and I’ll take a look at your schedule for a custom approach.

If you want to be proactive and start to work on your child’s sleep schedule BEFORE Daylight Savings wreaks havoc on your life (GREAT solution if you have kids in school or have to drop them at daycare/sitter):

Simple!  Set your alarm for 30-60 minutes earlier than normal, and wake your kids up.  Lots of activity and outdoor play, or mentally stimulating indoor play at a playgym or children’s learning center.  Put your baby or toddler to down for naps 30-60 minutes earlier than normal for naps and bedtime.  Voila, day of the time change, you can sit back and relax, because your children are already adjusted.

Oh I forgot.  Did I mention it’s going to be sunny AF at 5am now also?

If you want your child to sleep past 5am, you NEED a blackout shade.  Not just those fancy Pottery Barn blackout curtains, a blackout SHADE.  The sun rises on East-facing windows, signally your child’s internal clock that it’s time to get up!  Ain’t nobody got time for waking up that early.  Here is our favorite, fool-proof window cover that works better that tin foil, and comes on & off a whole heck of a lot easier, and customized to your window size even for under $50!  Totally worth the extra zzz’s if you ask me.  Otherwise your day is about to start REALLLL early.  Buy the shades.

In the end, always be sure to use my “Sleep and the City” rules for successful sleep shaping:

  • The same sleeping environment is encouraged ( meaning one place over and over, or to start, at least one nap in the desired sleep place per day).  We LOVE the Dock-a-Tot Grand for my toddlers to achieve this no matter where we are! USE CODE 10EXIT for $10 off now! 😉
  • Swaddle (0-6 months) for nighttime and nap times as needed; we love how easy this is with the Ollie Swaddle and this link will get you 10% off 😉
  • Comfy outfits for nap time (who wants to sleep in tight pants or a dress?!)  We love pajamas from Finn & Emma, which are 100% organic and wonderful for sensitive skin.
  • White noise is continuously running; a one with low rumbling is best like our fave from Hatch Baby
  • Room is completely dark for naps & nighttime (nightlight over 2+ years ok)
  • Understand the Wake windows by age (For help on wake windows or creating a schedule, click here).
  • Pause for 1-5 minutes before rushing in, sometimes children cry out momentarily in their sleep and fall right back asleep thereafter, but not if us adults are busting into the room to save them
  • Feed upon WAKING from sleep, not before (bedtime is the exception) using the Eat, Play, Sleep approach

For more professional Baby & Toddler Sleep Ideas and Help, visit

 As always, contact me if you need any help and I’ll be glad to take a look at your situation and recommend some great fixes that fit your lifestyle and child’s temperament.  Have a great day everyone!

 Sleep is possible, let’s do this!

Be sure to check out my posts about Dock-A-Tot here, and here, and my post about the OLLIE swaddle here. 

Join the Conversation

6 thoughts on “Surviving Daylight Savings with Kids

  1. My kids refuse to acknowledge the extra hour lol so I actually love the spring forward day…. because it means one less hour until bedtime ????????

  2. As much as I like it being sunny until later…I am not a fan of it with kids! Haha. I need to get some better curtains for the boys rooms. They wont sleep unless it is pitch black!

  3. I love springing forward even with Charlotte it’s so nice, our schedule was messed up for about a week but now she’s sleeping better than ever ????????