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6 Tips to Get Your Child Back on Track After Daylight Savings Ends in the Fall

I would like to go on record and say that I hate Daylight Savings. (And I don’t say that about too many things!)

And it appears I’m not alone. There are forums with thousands of comments on the topic, trying to come up with an alternative, or just wanting it to go away!

Parents are downright stressed about the upcoming time change on November 3rd!

But I can understand why…You’ve worked so hard to get your child on a great sleeping schedule and then BAM! Time to stir up the pot and make it interesting again.

It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Heart attacks, workplace accidents and cyberloafing are more prevalent the week following the time change.

The one good thing about THIS time change is a 7% decrease in accidents after the Fall time change when we get an extra hour of sleep (but that same study revealed that there are 7% more car accidents following the Spring time change – just goes to show you how precarious our sleep debt situation really is…)

And another great thing is that it’ll be good and dark at bedtime.

Anyway, standing on my soapbox probably won’t change it, so I’ll give you some tips to get your child back on track!

#1 Don’t change the clocks on Saturday night before you go to bed
unless you have somewhere to be early on Sunday morning!

It’ll just make you grumpy getting up with your kiddo an hour earlier than normal. Instead, put your child to bed at his normal bedtime on Saturday night and let him sleep as long as he wants Sunday morning (which, if he’s on a good sleep schedule, will be the same time he always wakes up!) Then, once everyone’s up and moving, you can change all of the clocks in the house…

#2 Adjust sleep times by 30 minutes the first 3 days
So if your baby usually takes a morning nap at 9:30am, move it to 9am (which will be 10am on his body clock). And don’t forget to push the afternoon nap a half hour earlier too.

Beginning Sunday night, adjust bedtime as well. If your child is usually in bed at 7pm, move it a half hour earlier to 6:30pm (which will be 7:30pm on his body clock).

Your child will be a little more tired going into each sleep, but if you notice that there’s no way he’ll make it 30 extra minutes (particularly for babies), you can do the adjustment in 15 minute increments to help prevent overtiredness.

#3 Beginning the fourth day, complete the time adjustment
On Day 4 following the time change, adjust naps and bedtime so they fall at their regularly scheduled times, pre-time change.

#4 Give babies space in the morning
If your baby was waking up at 7am, now she’ll likely be waking at 6am immediately following the time change. On Day 1, give her a little time when she wakes up (~10 minutes) before you go in. Keeping her in the dark bedroom will help reset her body clock to start waking up later.

On Day 2, give her a bit more time (~15 minutes) and continue over the next week or so until she’s adjusted and waking up at her normal time.

#5 Give a visual cue for toddlers
Time changes are hard for toddlers and preschoolers to understand! If you’re not already using one, a toddler clock works really well in this situation.

Beginning on Day 2 (remember you aren’t changing the clocks until everyone’s up on Sunday -Day 1), set the clock a half hour ahead of the new time. So if your child normally wakes up at 7am – that’ll be 6am on the new time – but set the clock for 6:30am for a few days and then bump it back to the normal time after Day 4. Your child may get up a little earlier than normal those first few days, but will adjust by the end of the week.

#6 Be patient
Remember that this is a process – children don’t adapt to the time change as quickly as most adults do – and it can take a week or two to get back on track after daylight savings ends.


And while we’re on the topic of time changes, here’s a reminder to:

  • check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detector
  • rotate or flip your mattress
  • go through your medicine cabinet and throw away expired prescriptions and over-the-counter remedies


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