Let’s Get Ready to Fall Back!

October 20, 2015

Will your child be ready when daylight savings time comes to an end?



As much as we never want to admit it – summer is over, fall is here.  And with that it means that daylight savings is coming to an end.  On Sunday November 5th we will be affected be the clocks moving back one hour.


Sure that’s seems great to our friends without children who get that extra hour of sleep in the morning before work!  But what about those that have children who wake at 6am – will you now have 5am wake ups?!?  Don’t panic I have some tips for you to help with the transition and make it as smooth as possible.


Regardless of how well rested your child is today, you need to have a plan in place on how to handle this time change so that it goes as smooth as possible.  When choosing a strategy take into account your child’s temperament, how well rested they are going into the change, and how easily they generally adjust to change.


Option 1 – Do Nothing – for the easy going, easy to adjust child and parent



With this option do nothing until the first morning of the change and then set your clocks to the “new” time.  Switch all meals, activities, naps and bedtime to the new time as well.  Wake up times may be a little off schedule for a few days but will eventually fall in place.  The only adjustment I would make would be ensuring, by all means, that you get a good nap in that first day of time change, so that you can get to the later bedtime without the threat of being overtired.


Option 2 – Plan Ahead – for the child who is more sensitive to change, being overtired, or who already tends to be an early riser


This option is for those families who struggle with change and your child gets easily overtired and you know he will struggle with a one hour change to the schedule.  Begin to make the change to your schedule a few days leading up to the clock change.  So start today!  Gradually push bedtime up by 15 minutes each day until you reach the new adjusted time.  Be consistent about not starting your day any earlier than 6am (new time).  Remember to also adjust naps, activities and meals in 15 minute increments on the days leading up to the time change as well.


Regardless of which option you choose to make it through the time change, there are a few other things to keep in mind.


Be mindful of your child’s circadian rhythm.  While it is important to watch the clock during this transition time, also pay attention to your child’s sleep cues.  It often takes a week for our bodies to completely adjust to the change and your child will need this time too.  Try to keep a consistent routine during the next week, but also be flexible.  A note to moms of multiples – we love having our little ones on identical schedules, but consider during this week to let the nap go a little longer if one baby needs it.  Remember they are individuals and sometimes one baby needs a couple extra minutes of sleep!  You may need to be a bit more flexibility than normal during this week of transition.


Pay attention to the temperature in your child’s room.  We sleep better in cooler temperatures.  When we start moving around in the morning our body temperature rises and this triggers our body to wake up.  Check the setting on your thermostat.  If your furnace is set to turn on too early, the noise and warmth can encourage early rising.


Lastly, keep in mind that late bedtimes equal overtiredness.  And overtiredness equals restless nights for babies and toddlers, and even earlier mornings.  So watch your baby’s bedtime carefully and make it earlier for a few days if need be.  So that means if you currently have a 7pm bedtime, after the time change the “new” 6pm will feel like 7pm – because it used to be 7pm!  So if your baby seems tired and you are witnessing sleep cues at 6pm, respect that and put her to bed a little early (maybe 6:30pm or even 6:15pm).


Be patient with the change it takes a few days to adjust, just remember to be consistent with bedtime and wake up times.


If you need extra assistance or if you are struggling with early rising and want some advice, please contact me.  We can work together to create your family bliss.