“Falling Back” With Your Baby
If you’re like me, I am not a fan of the early darkness fall brings us. To be honest, I am not a fan of the cold either, or the snow (don’t judge me). I’m a Colorado native and I just have never loved it!
Like so many other parents, I worry about how my daughter will do with the time change. I’ve worked hard to have a great sleeper, as many of my clients have too!
The adjustment to the time change doesn’t usually come immediately and that’s why it’s dreaded by so many parents. Children tend to be more structured in their bedtime and wake up around the same time each morning. The effects are much more profound because of the structured sleep many children have.
Go treat yourself to some coffee or tea or wine (this is a no judging zone) and read up on my tips to easing your child into the time change, with little fuss!
How to survive daylight savings
My first recommendation to parents is to not change the clocks the night before, so it’s not a psychologically upsetting event to see your little one up an hour earlier. Just get up at your usual time and start the day. After your cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast, then you can go around changing the clocks. It will feel much better this way, trust me!
Children: My advice is to “split the difference” with the old time and the new time. If your child usually takes a morning nap at 9:30 am, you will adjust their nap to 9:00 am for the three days after the time change (this used to be 10 am). It will be a bit of a push for your child, but not so much that it will cause significant damage to his or her schedule. Do the same for the afternoon nap(s). On the fourth day, move nap time back to the normal time.
For bedtime, if your child usually goes to bed at 7 :00 p.m. I recommend putting them to bed at 6:30 p.m. for the first three days following the time change (this will feel like 7:30 pm to your child). On the fourth night, move bedtime back to normal. It will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this.
Toddlers: 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 the night before, so that at 6:30 am 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 wake-up time. The Hatch or “Ok to Wake clock” is a great investment for toddlers.
Babies: If you have a baby and his bedtime has become predictable (usually between 4-6 months old), meaning he is going to bed around the same time every night, this will need to be a more gradual change. Try moving bedtime and naps in 15 minute increments, until you reach the new time. Follow this rule for bedtime as well.
If your baby’s bedtime is still not predictable, simply jump to the new time, as if you were traveling to a new time zone.
Waking up too early
If you find your child having early morning wake-ups with the new time, do not rush in as soon as baby wakes up, instead, wait 10 minutes. Increase this time every morning by 10 minutes and by the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual time.
As you’ve heard me say a 100 times before, consistency will make a world of difference for your child’s sleep, as you navigate this time change. Sleep trained kids may have a harder time breaking out of their routine so be patient and gradually transition them to the new time.
Don’t stress, I promise they’ll adjust!