Updated: Apr 18, 2018
Are you ready to fall back? Daylight Savings is this weekend. Those of you in Queensland might not find that this applies to you but if you are planning on travelling anytime soon and needing to adjust time zones by an hour or two, keep reading! (I suggest getting in contact with me for my tips on travelling with children if you are adjusting to greater time differences while travelling)
SO BACK TO FALLING BACK
Its no secret that Daylight Savings Time affects everybody’s sleep patterns. Babies, toddlers, children and adults alike. In fact, statistically, there is an 8% increase in traffic accidents the Monday after daylight savings time kicks in. #daylightsavingsiscrazy The effects often don’t make us feel all that great because we it can increase the amount of sleep debt we are carrying. This is especially true in children. When they are used to the structure of going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning it can result in more sleep disruptions that are tricky to handle.
So what is the best way to handle it?
This might seem a little bit confusing, but hang in there and I’ll provide you with a template to create your own Daylight Savings Plan to make it a little easier.
My advice is to “split the difference.”
For “Fall Back,” my recommendation to all parents is just to leave the clocks alone 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!
So now that you have changed the clocks. Put your little one down for a nap 30 minutes early (according to the clock - but will feel like 30 minutes later for your child)
Old Naptime: 9:30 am
After clocks change : 9:00 naptime (10:00 am pre-time change)
It might seem like a little bit of a stretch for your child, but it shouldn’t cause too much damage to their routine. Do the same for the afternoon nap if applicable.
Do this for three days.
Adjust naps to the correct time on day 4 as well.
Let’s say your child usually goes to bed at 7 pm I recommend putting that child to bed at 6:30 p.m. for the first three days following the time change. (This will FEEL like 7:30 to your child.) And it will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this. It takes everybody’s body roughly one week to adjust any kind of change in sleeping habits.
On the 4th night, just get in line with the new time so your baby is back to going to bed when the clock says 7:00 pm.
MORNING WAKE UP TIME
TODDLERS (2 + years)
If you have children over the age of two, and you currently use a Gro Clock or “OK to wake clock” just adjust the clock so it tells them its OK to wake up 30 minutes earlier then normal. ON the fourth night, adjust the clock to normal wake time. This will let them get up a little earlier than normal for a few days while their bodies adjust but hopefully by the end of the week, they will be back on track and sleep until their normal wakeup time.
If they you don’t use a GRO clock something similar 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 so that at 6:30 (your time) it says 7:00 on their clock and on the 4th night set their clock the same as yours.
If you have a with a baby a clock with numbers or that lights cup in the morning will not be something they understand! So here’s what to do. Don’t not rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up, because you do not want to send a message that getting up at 6 a.m. is okay now. So if they normally wake at 7:00, but is now up at 6:00 with the time change, wait until 6:10 after the first day, and then 6:20 on the next, then 6:30 the next day and, by the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual hour. Remember, their naps and bedtime are shifting as well so this will continue to make the morning wake up adjustment easier.
Fill out your plan below to give yourself a headstart. And if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me with your questions!
Or maybe you are thinking that daylight savings is the least of your worries because sleep is such a mess ALL THE TIME! I would love to chat with you about helping your baby or child sleep better. Book in a free evaluation here.
Welcome Autumn and Sleep Well!
Your Certified Baby and Toddler Sleep Consultant