Getting Ready for Daylight Savings: Fall Back!

I personally love the fall and all the beautiful weather we have been rewarded with in Minnesota. But as we wrap up Halloween and make our way into November, the dreaded daylight savings time change is fast approaching. This one steals an hour of daylight from us, so admittedly, I am not the biggest fan. And sometimes our little ones sleep can be thrown off by the change also. A couple options on how to tackle this change are provided below to help you get your family stay on the right path for a good night’s sleep. Daylight savings time this fall takes effect Sunday, November 6th, 2016.

As the transition approaches, make sure your child is getting good naps for the few days leading up to the change. This will help avoid them becoming super cranky and overtired as you are helping them make this shift.

Option 1 – “Do Nothing”

Sounds too easy, right?  Here are the specifics:

  • On Saturday night after your child has gone to bed, change all the clocks in your house to reflect the new time. That way, when you get up in the morning you are operating under this new schedule and not thinking about “what time it really is” as it relates to before the change.
  • Move into Sunday like any other day, following the adjusted clocks that reflect the time change. This will mean that if you have an early riser, unfortunately they will be up even earlier according to the clock. Make sure that you do not start the day until 6:00 a.m. to start their internal clock adjustment. It might take a few days of consistency to get them settled into a more acceptable time for waking up in the morning. You may need to do some time checks and/or provide them reassurance using the sleep lady shuffle for a few days in those early morning hours to reinforce the new wake up time.
  • Keep following the clock as the day goes on for naps, meals, and snacks.
  • For bedtime, follow the new clock and get your child down during their “normal” time.  This might mean that your baby that usually goes down at 6:30 p.m. will possibly be a bit overtired as their internal clock is still saying 7:30 p.m.  Again, a few days of consistency with this new bedtime will help to adjust their schedule.

Be flexible during this shift and understand that you may need to utilize the Sleep Lady Shuffle to help them drift off to sleep. I would think about this option if your child tends to be flexible when they may be up later and can still successfully sleep through the night. Otherwise I would suggest the next option: Split the difference.

Option 2 – Split the difference

In its simplest form, it’s essentially shifting by 30 minutes for all sleeping and eating occasions for a few days.

  • Same as option 1, change all of your clocks on Saturday night and make sure you keep your child in their room until at least 6:00 a.m. if they end up waking early.
  • For their naps and bedtime, shift them a half hour earlier (new time) for a few days. Here is an example schedule for a child that is on 1 nap a day.

-Afternoon nap is normally at 1:00 p.m. – on the first day of daylight savings, shift their nap start time to 12:30 p.m. (their body will feel like they are going down at 1:30 p.m.)

-Bedtime is normally 7:00 p.m. – on the first day of daylight savings, shift their bedtime to 6:30 p.m. (their body will feel like they are going down at 7:30 p.m.)

  • Shift the time for a few days after the time change, then move them back to their normal nap and bedtimes

Other Daylight Savings Tips

  • Make sure you make their room a optimal environment to encourage sleep: room darkening shades, white noise, appropriate temperature, etc.
  • Expose them to bright sunlight in the morning. This will help reset their internal clocks and make the adjustment easier.
  • As I mentioned above, be flexible and watch your child for their sleepy cues and offer sleep as soon as you are able. This might mean they are not following your new schedule perfectly, but that’s okay.  We need to give them time to adjust.
  • Continue to do quiet and relaxing activities before bedtime to avoid your child becoming overstimulated.  Eliminate screens and television and instead work on a puzzle or read books before the bedtime routine begins.

If you have any questions on this upcoming shift, feel free to ask away on Nite & Day’s Facebook page!

About Elizabeth Sarles

Elizabeth Sarles is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach and the owner of Nite & Day. She lives in Edina, Minnesota with her husband Lien, two little guys – Lien and Harrison, and her first baby (and bed-hog), Eddie the Yorkie.

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