On Sunday November 1st, the clocks will go back one hour.
The idea of “falling back” is scary for many parents. Those with little ones who already wake up early will now be up even earlier! Many parents fear they will be starting their day at 4:00 am. That is a scary thought, but it doesn’t have to come true. With just a few simple tricks, you can get your baby adjusted to the new time in about a week.
Treat Saturday overnight as normal and don’t change your clocks until Sunday morning. To start the adjustment for your child, begin at their first nap by moving it 30 minutes earlier. This is tricky because it will actually FEEL like it’s 30 minutes late. For example, if your child’s first nap usually takes place at 8:30 am, you will put him down at 8:00 am. This will feel like 9:00 am to your child’s body, so he may be a little fussy while you make the adjustment. Try some distraction by going into a new room, getting out some different toys or having a snack. Follow this pattern for all subsequent naps if your child takes more than one nap per day. Do this for the first 3 days (Sunday to Tuesday) to start adjusting your child to the new time. Remember that a little fussiness is totally normal during an adjustment period, so keep working at it and your little one will adjust.
To make the adjustment at bedtime, follow your nap pattern and move bedtime 30 minutes earlier as well. If bedtime is typically 7:00 pm, put your child down at 6:30 pm for the first 3 days. Again, this will feel like 7:30 pm so your little one may be cranky by this time.
On day 4, you can move back in line with the new time. This means your child will be back to taking naps and going to bed at their usual time. It may still take a few more days for your child to fully adjust, but this gradual process will really help to avoid overtiredness and meltdowns.
Usually the biggest question at this time is how to handle the early mornings. While your child is adjusting to the new time, it is very likely he or she will have early morning wake ups for up to a week. Be prepared for this and don’t change all of your rules and start your day whenever your little one wakes up.
For children under the age of 2 or those still in a crib, be sure to wait for a short period before taking your baby out of the crib in the morning. There is no need to rush right in at the first sign of waking, as this will send the message that this should be the new wake up time. Wait 10 minutes before responding on the first day (Monday), then add another 10 minutes of wait time the following day and so on. By progressively waiting a little longer, you allow your baby the change to fall back asleep and to adjust to the new time.
If your children over the age of two, you can start using a clock to signal when it is time to get out of bed. To do this, take a digital clock and put a piece of tape over the minute numerals. This way your child can see if it is 6 o’clock or 7 o’clock, but they cannot see the minutes, which is too confusing for toddlers. This part is a little tricky! Set the clock forward half an hour so that at 6:30, it reads 7:00 and allow your child to get up a little earlier than normal. Remember that they will be back to their normal wake up time by the end of the week, so those early mornings won’t last. If your child already uses a Gro Clock (or something similar), you can set the clock to the exact time you would like them to get up.
Adjustments take time. Adapting to Daylight Savings takes most children about one week. If you are consistent and make the change gradually, your little one will adjust smoothly and be back to their normal schedule in no time.