2022 Daylight Savings [Fall Back]
Updated: Oct 26, 2022
Daylight Savings and Your Child's Sleep
Despite the extra hour we gain during the day this fall, it can feel like an upheaval for parents of young children who don't make adjustment immediately. Let's talk about some things to make the transition to the new time go a little smoother.
1. Start on Sunday
Trying adjusting your clocks only on Sunday morning. After your cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast, then you can go around changing the clocks. It will feel a lot less overwhelming.
2. Split the Difference
Instead of making a huge jump to the new time, try making the shift in smaller chunks. You would do this differently depending up on the age of your child. In essence, take the new time and the old time and begin with the time in the middle.
School Age Children
If you have a child that does not nap and normally goes to bed at 7:00 p.m., you would put him to bed at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday night, the first night of the time change. Do this for 3 nights, putting him to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal, then on the 4th night put him to bed at the normal time, 7:00 p.m. or whatever is normal bedtime for your child.
If you have a toddler ages 1+, on Sunday the first day of the time change, you would put him down for his first nap 30 minutes earlier than normal. So if he naps usually at 9:30 a.m. put him down at 9:00 a.m. You would do the same with the afternoon nap if he takes an afternoon nap. For bedtime, if his normal bedtime is 7:00 p.m., you would put him down at 6:30 p.m. Do this for 3 nights after the time change and then on the 4th night, put him to bed at 7:00 p.m. and on 5th day move naptimes back to normal time.
Infant (usually 6mo+; if bedtime and naps are predictable/consistent)
If bedtime is normally 7:00 p.m. move bedtime 15 minutes later each night until you reach the normal time again. So the first night you would put him down at 6:15 p.m., the second night 6:30 p.m., and so on. On the fourth night you should be back to 7:00 p.m. Do the same thing for naps. Start 45 minutes earlier than normal and move them 15 minutes later each day.
So if morning nap is at 9:00 a.m. normally, start with
8:15 a.m. on Sunday,
8:30 a.m. on Monday,
8:45 a.m. on Tuesday and then
9:00 a.m. on Wednesday.
Do the same for the afternoon nap.
Babies (0-6 months old; if bedtime and naptimes are not predictable)
Simply jump to the new time Sunday night as if you were traveling to a new time zone and use their wake time window (awake time between sleep periods) as your guide.
3. Ways to Ease the Daylight Savings Transition
A great thing about this time change is that there are more hours of darkness which helps make this transition a little easier. When there is darkness, our bodies produce melatonin, a natural hormone which helps us fall asleep better. This means when bedtime rolls around, our bodies will be primed and ready for sleep.
Get a Sleep Training Clock
If you have a toddler or an older child who relies on a clock to know when their “morning time” has arrived, set the clock one half hour ahead of the new time so that it reads 7:00 a.m. at the new time of 6:30 a.m. Allow your child to wake a bit earlier than normal (they will think it is 7:00 according to the clock but it will be 6:30 a.m., new time). This will only be temporary as your child adjusts to wake at their usual 7:00 a.m. time after about one or two weeks.
Do Not Reinforce Early Morning Wakings
If your child wakes up too early, do not start their day, but rather tell them it’s not time to get up yet. If your child wakes up too early and is in a crib, be sure to help his body understand it isn’t morning time by keeping him in his crib in the dark room until normal wake time.
Have a Winddown Bedtime Routine
Keep consistent with bedtime and nap routines. Your child will learn that sleep should follow next when they get into bed.
It may take children and babies a bit more time to fall asleep, this is normal, since the time is different initially they might seem tired earlier. It usually takes about a week for children and babies to completely adjust to the new time, some children it can take up to a month. Be patient and stay very consistent, it will happen.
If you're dealing with more than a daylight-savings-hurdle and want more support with age appropriate sleep solutions that lead to positive sleep patterns, book a complimentary sleep assessment call with me. My 1-1 private consultations can help you get sleep improvements quickly and without all the stress.