4 steps to Daylight Savings with babies
One of the most confusing times of the year, Daylight Savings is both a welcome change and a complete hindrance. If you have kids- and especially babies/toddlers- it is mostly a gigantic pain in the butt. I mean, as an adult, it’s not all that fun trying to adjust to the time change, but when you need to also adjust a little one to doing things at a different time, it can be the cause of great discord.
So let’s make it a little easier on everyone.
The first thing you need to help you with Daylight Savings for little ones is to know: the opposite is true. What that means is, if the clock is going forward, you need to go backwards. If the clock is going backwards, you need to go forward. If you’re reading this at the time of posting (October), we’re working backwards, because the clocks are going forward. (This post is written for Daylight Savings starting, if you’re reading this for it ending, reverse the timing process.)
The four steps are actually four times, over the course of four days. You can use the first day of Daylight Savings as Day Four, or the day before, so you begin the new time cycle ready to go. The general concept of adjusting to Daylight Savings is fairly simple, but in practice it requires a good deal of mindfulness, so that you don’t get yourself all brass backwards! And each step consists of the same thing: 15 minutes. That’s all it takes.
STEP ONE: DAY ONE (Daylight Savings in T-minus 3 days)
If your day (like ours) starts at 7am, then day one is simply beginning your day 15 minutes early, at 6:45am. This means you bring EVERYTHING forward by 15 minutes- breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, naps, bath, bedtime. Even if it means waking your babe up earlier in the morning/from naps, do it- remember, you’ve got a whole hour to shift!
STEP TWO: DAY TWO (DS in T-minus 2 days)
The second day, begin your day at 6:30am. Again, move everything forward by 15 minutes from the day before (so now 30 minutes early). It starts to get a little trickier at this point to keep on track throughout the day- for example, remembering that a normal snack time of 10am is now 9:30am, or that a nap needs to end at 2pm instead of 2:30pm, so if you need to, set an alarm or two to remind you of important times!
STEP THREE: DAY THREE (DS in T-minus 1 day)
Day three is, you guessed it, 15 minutes again. Today your day would start at 6:15am, with meals and naps being 45 minutes earlier than normal. Again, this can be tricky, especially if you have commitments or appointments during the day that don’t agree with you being early, so you may need to adjust your schedule a bit, but by tomorrow, you’ll be back on track, so the pain in minimal!
STEP FOUR: DAY FOUR (Hello, Daylight Savings)
Today you begin at 7am again- although it’s the old 6am! It can still be a little tricky with your babes- especially as dinner is suddenly in daylight! So don’t worry if your day is still a little wobbly for the next day or two, it will iron out pretty quickly!
Of course, you can opt to perform this shift over a longer period of time- for example, you could ease into it over two days for each step (so the first 15 minutes for two days, the second 15 minutes for two days etc), or you could do it in 10 minute increments each day over a week, but however you do it, the gradual progression backwards (or forwards!) will save you a stack of pain rather than trying to explain to a baby why their lunch is either early or late all of a sudden- because their body clock doesn’t understand such a sudden shift! I’ve found that it helps me too- because I’m thinking in different time increments for those few days before the clock moves, by the time I get to it happening for real, my mindset is already there, so the adjustment is easier for my own body clock as well.
So good luck! I hope you find success with it too- while it’s great to have more sunshine at the end of the day during summer, the time change can really do your head in for a while. I say let’s meet half way and just move it half an hour forward for the whole year (haha!)