PSA: This coming Sunday, March 13, marks the start of Daylight Saving Time. While parents may look forward to being awake for more daylight hours, "springing forward" and losing an hour of sleep can lead to some very cranky babies. But this doesn't have to be their fate.
Here are 5 tips to help parents ease the transition into Daylight Saving Time:
1. Gradually adjust babies' sleep schedules.
To make the time change more seamless for little ones, family sleep consultant Angelique Millette told The Bump she recommends making incremental adjustments to the baby's bedtime in the days leading up to the big jump. Millette said that scheduling earlier bedtimes in increments of 10, 15, or 30 minutes is acceptable depending on how early on you choose to start the transition. Adjust naptimes accordingly as well.
2. Tire them out on Saturday.
"Try your best to get your child ready for these 'new' nap times and bedtime on Saturday by getting plenty of fresh air," sleep experts Conner Herman and Kira Ryan told Big City Moms. Herman and Ryan recommend introducing new activities into your little one's day to help tire them out more than usual so that they'll go to sleep a little earlier.
3. Use blackout curtains.
Some babies might be less likely to fall asleep if they notice it's lighter outside than it normally is at bedtime. Writing for Today's Parent, sleep consultant Alanna McGinn advises parents to use blackout curtains to "make bedtime nice and dark."
4. Expose them to natural light in the morning.
Child sleep expert Kim West recommends fully opening the curtains in your baby's room in the morning. She writes on Times-Mail, "Exposure to natural light first thing in the morning will help to reset his internal clock more quickly (and yours, too)."
5. Be patient.
While some babies easily adjust to the time change, others take a little longer, child sleep expert Amy Lage writes on Macaroni Kid. "Try to be patient with yourself and your child."
This post, originally published in 2015, has been updated to reflect the Daylight Savings Time date for 2016.