Sunday November 4th is the end of Daylight Saving Time – time to turn the clocks back one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night. Remember how, before parenthood, that extra hour on Sunday morning was a chance to grab more sleep? Well, not any more! Now the end of Daylight Saving Time means that your one year old will be up at 5:00 a.m. instead of 6:00!
But don’t panic! There are three basic ways to handle the transition to the new time. Use one or a combination of these methods and your child’s sleep schedule should be on track in a few days to a week.
Tip 1 – Cold Turkey: When the time changes, switch to the new time right away. Switch all meals, activities and naps to the new time as well. Your child’s wake up times may be a bit off for a few days, but don’t worry – they’ll adjust. Try not to start the day before 6:00 am if possible. If your child is fairly easy-going the adjustment to the new time should be quick and painless with this no-nonsense approach.
Tip 2 – Work Up To It: This approach is helpful for children that may be more sensitive to being overtired or disrupted by changes in schedules, or children that tend to wake up on the early side. Start 3 or 4 days before the time change by moving bedtime and wake up time 15 minutes later each day. For example, if your child usually goes to bed at 7:00 p.m. try to push it until:
- 7:15 p.m. on November 1st
- 7:30 p.m. on November 2nd
- 7:45 p.m. on November 3rd
- 8:00 p.m. on November 4th
You can take an even slower approach if you want to and move bedtime in even smaller increments over the course of a week or so leading up to the change. At the new wake up time, turn on the lights and expose your child to natural light to help reset their internal clock.
Tip 3 – Fix It Afterwards: Wait until the day of the time change and adjust your child’s schedule over the next few days. Just keep in mind that there may be some early mornings and it may take a bit longer to adjust. Most children and adults will naturally adjust to the new time within the week.
These strategies also work in reverse when it’s time to “spring forward” and move the clocks ahead one hour.
Sweet Dreams and Happy Fall!
Alison Bevan – Sleepytime Coach
Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant – The Center For Advanced Pediatrics