Love it or hate it, daylight saving time is ending. This time of year, we will “Fall Back” an hour. As a parent, we know that our children thrive off structure and predictability. That’s why going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning works so well with them. So, what is the best way to handle this extra hour, without the wheels on the bus flying off?
It all depends on the time frame you have to prepare and what works best for your family.
If you want a simple, but gentler approach to the time transition, I recommend doing it in 2 steps. For example, if your toddler usually takes a nap around 12:30, adjust the nap to 12:00 for the three days after the time change. It will be a bit of a stretch for your child, but not so much that it will upset their sleep schedule.
At bed time, do the same thing. If their bedtime is 7:00, put them 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.) On the fourth night, put your child to bed at their normal nap time and bedtime. Your child will be a little more tired this week, but by the 7th day, their mind and body will have fully recovered and adjusted to the new time.
The second option is to push back your schedule 10 minutes each day until you are at the right time. Most parents like to start doing this the Wednesday before the time change, so that when Monday rolls around, everyone is pretty much adjusted to the time and ready to go. This is great for school aged kids and adults because the transition is gradual enough to be hardly noticeable and there is less fatigue during the day.
Also, pushing a baby’s sleep schedule 30 minutes at a time is rarely a good idea. They become overtired very quickly, which makes it much harder for them to fall sleep. Moving 10 minutes a day works especially well with baby’s who are already on a predictable schedule!
Here’s how you do it:
Once you have decided to start the transition, don’t rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up, you don’t want to send a message that getting up at 6 a.m. is okay now. So if they normally wake at 7:00, but is now up at 6:00, you will wait ten minutes on the first day, and then twenty the next day, and so on. By the end of the week, your baby’s schedule will be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual hour. As for naps and bedtime, make them 10 minutes later each day as well.
Got a toddler that already loves to wake up early, I recommend the OK to Wake! Children’s Alarm Clock & Night-Light for 14 months and up! Why? After a few days of consistently using it, your child will learn it’s still sleep time, until the light comes on. Once your child makes this connection, they will return to sleep when they see the light is off in the nighttime. How awesome is that!?! As your child gets older, there are numbers and an alarm feature as well, to grows with them. You may also plug it in or use the battery power, making it perfect for trips too!
Want a high tech option that can be controlled by your phone and doubles as a sound machine? Then you have to get the Hatch Baby Rest Smart Night Light. It works like the Okay to Wake clock, but has a more modern look, and you are able to control the light, color and sound right from your phone. I don’t like to play favorites, but this one is mine for doing two very important jobs in one product.
Thank you Amazon for the affiliate links to such great products!
Need help getting your little one on a predictable schedule? Contact me at to set-up a free 15-minute child sleep evaluation today.
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