It’s almost that time - Daylight Savings! We get an extra hour of sleep, which is fantastic in the moment, but our little ones can struggle with the time change. This blog is here to help you navigate the “fall back” in time and put your mind at ease.
On Sunday, November 6th, we will be setting our clocks back one hour. *Cue panic for parents everywhere.* I’ve had several clients contacting me asking me the best way to handle the time change so that they can keep their children on track with the great sleep habits they’ve already
Developed. It may take your child up to a week to fully adjust to the time change, but don’t worry, the process is quite simple. The answer: you just have to “split the difference”.
First things first, don’t worry about the clocks on Saturday night. Just start with your child’s first nap on Sunday and adjust the time by 30 minutes. If for example your little one usually takes a morning nap at 9:30, you will want to adjust this to 9:00 am (which will FEEL like 10 am to your child). You’ll do this for the first 3 days after the time change.
It will be a bit challenging for your child to stay awake for those extra 30 minutes, but not so much that it will disrupt his or her schedule. You will do the exact same thing for the afternoon nap. If your child is struggling to make it to their nap, you may need to use some tactics to distract them.
Gradually roll back
As suggested by the heading, you will gradually adjust the time that your child goes to bed - back to their original bedtime.
If your child usually goes to bed at 7 pm, I recommend putting them to bed at 6:30 PM for the first 3 days after the time change (this will FEEL like 7:30 pm to your child). Just like the naps, it will take about a week for your child’s body to adjust to the time change.
On the 4th day, you can move the bedtime in line with the new time, so your baby or child will be back to taking naps and going to bed at their usual time (yay!). Early morning wake-ups are common within the first few days of Daylight Savings, which is really tough, but it gets better. I’m not going to leave you hanging, so here are some great tips on how to tackle those early wakes:
If your children are over the age of two, you can put a digital clock in the room
and put a piece of tape over the minute numerals, so that they can only see if it is 6
o’clock or 7 o’clock, but they cannot see the minutes, which is often confusing for toddlers.
I recommend just setting the clock forward half an hour so that at 6:30, it reads
7:00 and let them get up a little earlier than normal. The goal with this is that by the
end of the week, they will be back on track and sleep until their normal
wake-up time. If you are already using a Gro Clock (or something similar), you
can set the clock to the exact time you would like them to get up.
If you have a baby, they will need to gently be adjusted to the new time. We don’t want to rush into the room as soon as you hear your baby waking up, because we do not want to send the message that getting up at 6 a.m. is okay now.
You’ll want to slowly add more and more time in which you get your baby out of their bed. If your child normally wakes at 7:00 am but is now up at 6:00 am (which is normal as I mentioned above), wait ten minutes before getting your child up on the first day, and then twenty minutes the following day, then wait until 6:30 the third day. By the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual hour.
Consistency is key. Remember that adjusting to Daylight Savings will take time. If you stay consistent and allow your child’s body to adjust slowly, you will be back on track in about one week!