The only positive to the dreaded end of lovely long days is the extra hour of sleep we gain when the clocks are ‘turned back’! Although this becomes a distant memory when young kids are involved!
Parents of younger children can have a hard time adjusting routines to fit in with the change in time from daylight savings ending. As a result, bedtimes can become a battle. This is because children tend to be more structured in their bedtime and wake up around the same time each morning so they need time to adjust.
Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to help make the transition to the new time go a little smoother:
It sounds weird but I suggest you leave your clocks alone Saturday night (set your phones to update manually if you will look at this Sunday morning). Wake up Sunday morning, have breakfast, THEN go around your house and change your clocks. Psychologically, it will feel much better for everyone if you wait until Sunday morning to change the time (a 6:00 a.m. wake up seems much nicer than 5:00!).
My best advice for bubs and children is to move your routines 15-30mins earlier over the space of 4-5 days. Want to know what that might look like……….?
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.
Toddlers– If you have a toddler ages one and older, on Sunday, 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 has one). 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.
Infants over 6 months old– Usually, bedtime and naps have become predictable for this age meaning he is always going to bed around the same time each day. Move bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night until you reach the normal time again. So, if he usually goes to bed at 7 p.m. 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.
Infants under 6 months old: If their 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.
A great thing about this time change is that there are more hours of darkness which helps to make this transition a little easier. If your child wakes up too early, walk them back to their room and tell them it’s not time to get up yet. If your child wakes up too early and is in a cot, be sure to help his body understand it isn’t morning time by keeping him in his cot in the dark room until normal wake time.
Note for Toddlers/School-aged children: If you have a toddler or an older child who relies on a clock to know when their “morning time” has arrived (such as a Gro Clock), set the clock 30mins 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.
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.