“I LOVE daylight savings!” said no parent of young children, EVER! As amazing as it is to have these tiny humans in our lives, I think we can all agree that we miss the days of the “fall back” time change pre-kids. We could reminisce all day of the carefree Saturdays where we would spend the entire morning lying around, catching up on adult genre Netflix shows, and getting out of bed only to refill our coffee. Those days were glorious!
The reason that time change sucks for parents is two-fold. First, your little one will now be we waking an hour earlier. So, if your child is normally waking at 6:30 am, that means you can start saying hello to 5:30 am starting next weekend, November 5th. Second, you will now be putting them down an hour later than they are used to, resulting in some crabby and overtired kiddos. Let me rub a little more salt in this wound…Did you know that when children are overtired they typically sleep fitfully and wake even earlier than normal? I don’t know about you but I can feel the bags under my eyes getting bigger by the mere thought of waking up at 4:30 am. There isn't enough coffee or Rodan + Fields to handle that kind of early morning chaos.
Unfortunately, the time change is going to happen regardless of our complaints. But as Bob Marley once said, “Don’t worry, about a thing.” I’ve got you covered.
How to Handle Daylight Savings Like a Boss!
1. Don’t change the clocks: Do not change the clocks before you go to bed on Saturday. This way it’s not so upsetting to see that your little one is up an hour earlier. Just get up at your usual time and start the day. Wait until after your cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast to change the clocks. It will feel much better this way, trust me!
2. Extend your child’s morning wake-up time a little each day: Do not rush in as soon as you hear your child wake or fuss. If she normally wakes at 7, but is now waking at 6 am, you will try to extend her wake time by 10 minutes each day. On day Sunday, wait until 6:10 to allow her to get up or come out of the crib/bed. On Monday, wait 20 minutes until she can get up. On Tuesday, wait 30 minutes.
3. Naps: If your little one usually takes a morning nap around 9:30, you will adjust this to 9:00 for three days after the time change. It will be a bit of a push for your child, but not so much that it will cause much damage to his schedule. Do the same for the afternoon naps.
4. Bedtime: Put your child to bed 30 minutes earlier than their normal time for 3 days. For example, if he typically goes down at 7, put him down at 6:30 pm. (This will FEEL like 7:30 to your child). It will take about a week for your child’s body to adjust to the new sleeping habits.
*On the 4th day/night, you can get in line with the new time so your child is back on their normal schedule.
*Make sure you discuss your time-change transition with your daycare providers so they can help you manage naps.
Remember to be patient. It may take your kiddo a week or two to become fully adjusted to the new time, especially if they were not sleeping well before the time change.
I hope these tips make it easier to take on daylight savings with a sarcastic smile and a “bring it on” attitude. You've got this!
If you have any other questions regarding your child’s sleep, don’t hesitate to contact me. I offer free 15-minute Sleep Assessments that you can schedule here.