How Can I Help My Baby Adjust To Time Changes?
Getting your baby on any semblance of a normal sleep schedule can often be beyond challenging! But, once you have finally established and routine and your baby is on a schedule and actually sleeping, you don’t want to mess with it! You schedule your dinner plans around it, come home after dinner with friends much earlier than normal, and avoid scheduling appointments during naptime!
However, there are some changes that we can’t avoid—time changes! Whether it is fall or spring and the clocks are moving forward or backward an hour or you are planning to travel to somewhere in a different time zone, just thinking about these changes and helping your baby adjust to time change differences can be nerve-wrecking! You don’t want to mess up a good thing and disturb your baby’s schedule. Below, we have some suggestions that you can use to help your baby adjust to time change differences.
Helping Your Baby Adjust to Daylight Savings Time
When we “fall back” or “spring forward,” we have to adjust our clocks one hour. If you don’t want your baby to be up extra early, be super cranky and fussy at night, and just be off from their normal routine for a few days, or weeks, following the change, there are few strategies you can try in the days leading up to and following Daylight Savings Time.
Create a Dark Space For Sleep
As an adult, you can tell yourself that it is time to go to bed, or enjoy getting an extra hour of sleep in the fall. You can’t simply tell these things to your baby and expect them to follow along with your wishes.
To help your baby adjust to time change differences, you’ll need to provide them with a dark space to sleep so the sun shining through their window doesn’t wake them up. You can consider purchasing black-out curtains which will block more light coming through their window than traditional curtains or a shade.
Slowly Move Your Baby’s Bedtime
Instead of expecting your baby to immediately adapt to their bedtime and wake time changing by a whole hour from one day to the next, slowly change your baby’s schedule.
During the week leading up to Daylight Savings Time, slowly move your baby’s bedtime forward or backwards by a few minutes each day depending on how the time will be changing. This will help your baby adjust to time change variances more gradually.
Keep Your Baby Up Just a Bit Longer
Depending on your baby, keeping your baby up just a few extra minutes (or putting them down a few minutes early) on the night of Daylight Savings Time, may be enough to help your baby adjust to time change differences.
You may be able to move their bedtime by 20 or 30 minutes to help them adjust to the time change. However, not all babies are the same, and this won’t work for all babies.
Wait A Few Minutes Before Getting Your Baby in the Morning
If on the morning of Daylight Savings Time, your baby wakes up an hour early (at the equivalent of their normal wake time), wait a few minutes before going into their room to wake them up.
If you rush right in to their rooms at this early hour, it is possible that their sleep schedule will adjust to this new, earlier wake up time. Waiting a bit will help your baby adjust to time change differences and sleep better soon!
Follow Your Normal Schedule and Routine
You may have a few rough days with a cranky or fussy baby, but it is important to stick with the schedule and routine you want your baby to follow. Help your baby adjust to time change differences by sticking with a consistent routine and putting them down for naps and bedtime at the times you used before the time change.
Helping Your Baby Adjust to Traveling to a Different Time Zone
When you travel to a new time zone, it can also be challenging for your baby to adjust. Whether the time will only be one hour different or 10 hours different, it can still have an effect on your baby.
There are some strategies you can try to ease the effects of the time change on your baby.
Begin Shifting to the New Time Before Your Trip Begins
In the days or weeks leading up to your trip, slowly adjust your child’s schedule so it is more in line with the new time zone you’ll be visiting. Try pushing their bedtime forward or backwards by 10 or 15 minutes a day until they are closer to the schedule you’ll want them to be on. This will help your baby adjust to time change differences associated with traveling to a new destination.
Find a Red-Eye Flight
If it possible, try to find a red-eye flight, especially if you are traveling to a time zone that is multiple hours different from your home time. Your baby will likely be tired and ready to sleep on the plane which can help your baby adjust to time changes differences in the new time zone you’ll be visiting.
Be Patient and Reassure Your Baby
Think about how you feel when you are jet-lagged from traveling to a new time zone. You feel off and in a fog. Imagine how your baby must be feeling. Here are some things you can do to help your baby adjust to time change differences:
- Remain patient and understanding
- Reassure your baby that everything is OK
- Offer plenty of snuggles, hugs, and kisses to help your baby feel safe and loved
- Model sticking to your normal routines
It can be challenging for a baby to adjust to time change differences in their routines. The change in time, even if only an hour, can throw their schedule up in the air and leave them feeling tired, cranky, and confused. Hopefully, some of the suggestions we have offered in this article will allow you to help your baby adjust to time change variances without either of you suffering from the change!