Navigating the Time Change

This is a friendly reminder that Daylight Savings Time is coming soon. If you’re feeling the anxiety creep in, take a deep breath- I’m here to help!  I’d love to share three options you can choose from when approaching the time change. I’m sure there will be an option that will work well for you and your family!

Cold Turkey

The first approach is an easy one, you simply do nothing. This approach is otherwise known as “cold turkey”. This is probably the most common way to go about the time change as truth be told, most families simply forget about the time change altogether. Not to mention, this is the way that most of us handle the time change for our own adult sleep schedule.

The cold turkey approach is great for older children and/or children who are less sleep sensitive. Their body will “feel” the change in time, however, within about a week, your child should be back on track. Older children have greater comprehension around time, which will help them understand what is happening. A simple conversation with an older child explaining that their body may feel funny for a few days can be helpful.

On the flip side, this approach can work well for younger babies who do not follow a set schedule. If your baby currently follows awake times (i.e. 0-6 months), continue with age-appropriate awake times, and remember to shift bedtime earlier for a few days following the time change. 

Split the Difference

The second way to approach Daylight Savings Time is to split the difference. You can begin this approach on Sunday, November 6th. Splitting the difference can help children adjust to the time change if they are more sensitive to changes in their routine and sleep schedule.⠀
⠀An example of a child who takes one nap at 12:30 pm and goes to bed at 7 pm. For the first 3 days, put him down at 12 pm (which will feel like 1 pm to him). Days 4+, you will then adjust the nap to the desired time of 12:30 pm. This will give his body time to adjust, and the change won’t feel like such a shock to his system. ⠀

For bedtime, you will split the difference as well. The first 3 nights put your child to bed at 6:30 pm (which will feel like 7:30 pm). Days 4+ you will adjust bedtime to the desired time of 7 pm. ⠀

Keep in mind if your child is normally awake at 7 am, their body will be awake at 6 am for the first while. If you are using a toddler clock (I.e The Hatch or Grow Clock), set the wake-up time 10-15 minutes later each day or two, in order to push out their wake until you reach the desired wake up time.

Gradual Shift- 10 Minute Shift

The third and final approach is really helpful for children who are more sensitive to changes in their sleep routine.

Currently, this is my favourite approach for children who are on a set nap schedule. I find this approach to be easy on their body and relatively easy to implement before the time change even happens.  The way I will explain this is starting 7 days prior to Daylight Savings. 

Starting on October 31st you will begin to shift your child’s bedtime 10 minutes later. As you move through the week you will continue to shift bedtime later 10 minutes each day. Don’t forget to push out morning wake time as well by 10 minutes daily. As you approach November 6th, your child will be going to bed significantly later than their usual bedtime. This will work in your favour as once you reach November 6th when we “fall back” one hour, your child’s body will be already adjusted, and you can settle in nicely at bedtime. 

The Takeaway

No matter which strategy you choose, on the morning of Daylight Savings, I would STRONGLY encourage you to wake up at your normal time, drink a cup of coffee and then change your clocks! This will help to set a positive tone for the day.

I’m so happy you have made your way over here! It is my goal to help educate parents just like you! I have made it my mission to provide sleep education and to help you and your little one sleep well. I’ve been in the darkness of sleep deprivation, and know how hard it is to function on so little sleep. As a now rested mom, I would LOVE to help you sleep again. It’s just a matter of when!