October 10, 2020

How to Navigate Daylight Savings: “Falling Back”

Babies, Newborns, Older Children, Toddlers

Before having kids, I LOVED when it was time to fall back every year, because that meant an extra hour of sleep! And who doesn’t love more sleep??

As a parent, however, daylight savings makes us shake our fists at whoever decided it was a good idea to change the clocks twice a year, and whoever has decided to keep it around. Although I still don’t like it, it IS possible to navigate with kids’ sleep and not go totally insane!

First of all, for your sake, don’t change the clocks the night before. Wait until you’ve woken up and had your morning devotional, coffee, tea, exercise, etc. (Your phone will of course change overnight, but don’t stress about the real clocks until morning.)

Now, if your little one is on a “schedule” according to awake windows, then have no fear! Keep your little one on that same schedule and focus on slowly pushing the morning wake-up time later and later (read below).

For the kiddos who are on a set schedule, however, there are some tweaks we can make. Your child’s bedroom windows should already be super blacked out (i.e. I can’t see my hand in front of my face), so any extra light outside the windows won’t affect him or her.

Starting on Sunday (the first day of of daylight savings) and lasting for three days, pull your child’s nap time(s) and bedtime 30 minutes earlier (which will actually feel 30 minutes later).

For example, if your child usually takes an afternoon nap at 12:30, pull that nap to 12:00 for three days. It might be a push for your child, but not so much that it will damage his schedule.

Likewise, if your child usually goes to bed at 7:00, pull that time to 6:30 for three days (it will feel like 7:30 to him); thankfully you’ll have the sleepy hormone, melatonin, on your side for bedtime. On day four, adjust naps and bedtime back to your child’s normal schedule.

As for the morning…if your child usually wakes up at 7:00 am and is therefore now up at 6:00 am, don’t rush in the moment you hear him wake up; we don’t want him learning that waking up at 6:00 is the new norm! Instead, wait about 10 minutes before going to get him. If he wakes up at 6:00 again on morning two, wait about 20 minutes to get him, and on morning three, wait about 30 minutes to get him.

By the end of the week, your child’s schedule should be adjusted to the time change and he will start waking up at his usual hour. (If your child is 2 or older, having a toddler clock in place will help with morning transition, especially!)

If reading about having your child on any kind of schedule sounds foreign to you (whether by awake window or set times), or daylight savings is the least of your worries because you’re up all hours of the night trying to coerce your child to sleep anyway, I’d love to chat with you! Sign up for a FREE discovery call so I can hear more about your child’s sleep and explain how I can help.

With Grace,