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A Parent's Nightmare: Springing Forward with Daylight Savings Time

I grew up in Indiana (in the 80s/90s) and we didn’t do Daylight Savings Time. I blissfully lived in a world where time didn’t’ stand still but also didn’t change. It was glorious, in hindsight. I never even heard of daylight savings time until I went to college in Ohio. Boy, was I super confused come October. While I loved the extra hour the fall back gave us, I loathed the loss of an hour in the Spring. WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS ANYWAY??? (PS - Indiana adopted DST in 2006. Arizona is now the only state that does not do DST)

As a young adult, Daylight Savings was a mild nuisance. But I had the luxury of staying in bed all day that fateful day in March if I wanted to. Or I could reap the benefit of an extra hour at a bar in the fall.

But Daylight Savings Time seems like a punishment for parents of young kids. Doesn’t it? I mean, it is not like we have a hard time getting our kids to do anything let alone be on some kind of schedule and/or sleep well…. Let’s throw a complete change in time to make it interesting. Said no parent ever. <enter eye roll here>

Since it is what it is, we have to find ways to make the adjustment as smooth as possible. Children can’t read clocks and their bodies become accustomed to waking at the same time each day. Which is why parents must be thoughtful about adjusting their baby’s internal clocks. Especially with the Spring time change. It is definitely the trickier of the changes.

What can we do to get our kids through the transition?

Adjusting your body’s clock takes time. For kids and adults, it usually takes about 4 weeks for a shift in body clock to become “normal” again. Be patient and consistent – it will happen!

In my opinion, you can tackle this in one of two ways. Which will you choose??

Option 1:

First, don’t change anything nor change your clocks on Saturday. All the changes will happen on Sunday. Let the psychological affects of DST start on Sunday and try not to worry too much about it on Saturday. Easier said than done, I know.

For babies and older kids on a schedule, I suggest splitting the time difference at bedtime. For example, if your child usually goes to bed at 7:00 p.m. but the clock now says 8:00 p.m., put your child to bed at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday night (which is the first night of the time change). Do this for three nights and on the fourth night begin putting them to bed at 7:00 p.m. Do the same thing for naps.

I remember doing this with Evelyn so faithfully the first few times we had to deal with it. And it was so easy and went so smoothly. When she was littler, I even broke it up into 15 minute increments for like 2 days each and that worked great too. Whatever you do, just stick with it and be consistent (and patient).

For infants who are not really on a schedule yet, jump right in on the time change.

Option 2: Don’t do anything.

Yup, that’s right. You can not do anything and your child will adjust. The world around us has changed time and we, frankly, don’t have a choice in not adapting. So even without doing anything, simply by living in a daylight savings time world, your child will adjust. I’d say it takes roughly the same amount of time to be secure in the change – about 4 weeks.


Whether you love or hate DST, it is our reality. You can choose to slow roll it out or don’t do anything and let it play out. Which ever way you choose to tackle it for your family is the right one. Just remember to be patient with everyone including yourself. Everyone will adjust and just like that it will be October and we will be figuring it out all over again!

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