Article by Dawnn Whittaker, with some great tips for keeping your little ones sleeping sweetly when Daylight Savings Time ends and we all “Fall back”.
Daylight Savings Time is getting ready to “Fall back” on Sunday, November 4 for 2012, and many families may face disruption to nights and mornings as little ones adjust to the change in time. Most children have very regular sleep patterns that get thrown off with this sudden change, though you may have noticed that the change in daylight has already affected your child.
Helping Your Kids Fall Back When Daylight Savings Time Ends
Here are some tips to help with the Fall change when the clocks go back by one hour for your baby or child. I’m assuming a 7:00pm bedtime and a 7:00am wake here – you can adjust the times accordingly for your own children’s schedule. There are two methods to deal with time changes: the cold turkey method or the gradual method.
Cold Turkey – Suited for 12 Months and Up
- On the evening that Daylight Savings Time ends, put your baby/child to bed at the normal time (7:00pm) and before you go to bed move all of your clocks back by one hour.
- Set your alarm clock or your child’s alarm clock (if they use one) to their normal wake up time (7:00am for example). Initially their body will want to get up an hour earlier, so leave them and deal with it as you would any too-early morning wake (a reminder that it’s sleepy time, etc).
- Stay on “real” time all day and don’t make adjustments for the time change. Keep all naps at the normal time.
- Keep all meals/feeds on the new time and at the regular time.
- Put your child to bed at their normal bedtime on the Sunday evening (7:00pm) even though it may feel like 8:00pm to them. If the look tired, push it to as close to 7:00 as possible so you can adjust as quickly as possible.
Gradual – Better Suited for Under 12 Months
You can do a gradual approach 2 ways:
- On the Thursday night on the build up to the end of Daylight Savings Time, make small changes of 15 minutes later each night. (7:15pm/7:30pm/7:45pm/8:00pm), then the 8:00pm will be 7:00pm once the clocks have gone back. You will have to also move their whole day later to compensate as well to match the new time. (OR)
- On the Saturday night that the clocks are going to change put your child to bed 30 minutes later than normal bedtime (7:30pm) and then 30 minutes earlier the next night (7:30pm new time).
Don’t forget to make the change to your clocks on Saturday, November 3 before you go to bed!
For babies or toldders who are currently not getting the recommended 11-12 hours of sleep at night, or who are chronic early wakers, the end of Daylight Savings Time will likely be even more difficult. If you would like some help getting your baby or child to sleep longer at night, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me so we can discuss your specific situation.
Dawnn Whittaker is a mum of three and owner of Cheekychops Consulting, a sleep and parenting consulting company. Cheekychops consultants have helped over 2500 babies and families around the world since 2006. Find out more from Cheekychops on the blog, Twitter, or Facebook.