This Sunday marks the end of daylight saving time and the clocks “fall back” an hour. For most people that means an extra hour of sleep…yayy!! But don’t get too excited. If you have kids, which I’m sure you do if you’re reading this, I’m sorry to say that doesn’t include you.
So how do you handle the change and not wreck your child’s sleep? Don’t worry I’ve got you covered. Here’s what to do…
On Sunday morning my recommendation is to just leave your clocks alone and just get up at your usual time and start the day. Now, of course your phone and electronics will automatically change but once you have your coffee and breakfast go around the house and change the other clocks.
“Split the Difference”
Adjusting the time causes our internal clock to be a bit out of sync. In order to adjust to this while keeping your child’s sleep habits in check, I recommend splitting the difference of the new time and the old time when it comes to nap time and bedtime in order for your child’s body to adequately adjust to the change.
If, for example, your little one usually takes a morning nap around 9:30, you will adjust this to 9:00 for the first three days after the time change. It will be a bit of a push for your child, but not so much that it will cause much damage to her schedule. Do the same for the afternoon nap if they take one.
Let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7 p.m. I recommend putting that child to bed at 6:30 p.m. for the first three days following the time change. (This will FEEL like 7:30 to your child.) And it will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this. It takes everyone’s body roughly one week to adjust to any kind of change in sleeping habits
If you have children over the age of two, you can put a digital clock in the room and put a piece of tape over the minutes, so that they can see if it is 6 o’clock or 7 o’clock, but they cannot see the minutes, which often confuses toddlers. Just set the clock forward half an hour so that at 6:30 it says 7:00 and let them get up a little earlier than normal, knowing that, by the end of the week, they will be back on track and sleep until their normal wakeup time.
If you are dealing with a baby, you cannot do that. Do not rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up, because you do not want to send a message that getting up at 6 a.m. is okay now. So if she normally wakes at 7:00, but is now up at 6:00, you will wait till ten after the first day, and then twenty after the next, then 6:30 the next day and, by the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual hour.
On the fourth night, just get in line with the new time so your baby is back to going to bed when the clock says 7:00 p.m. Adjust naps to the correct time on day 4 as well.
If your child is currently struggling with sleeping well and you’d like to help them learn healthy sleep habits, let’s chat! Schedule a call with me today.
Your Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant
Owner, Bedtime Bliss Sleep Consulting