It’s that time of the year again… On Sunday, November 3rd, Daylight Saving will end (for US and Canada). Before you had kids, Daylight Saving adjustments meant an extra short/long week-end and having to adjust the clock on a bunch of electronics. With kids, however, it can impact your family for days, especially with young children. When Daylight Saving ends in the Fall, the most typical sleep disruption is that children and babies continue to wake up at their old time, which is now an hour earlier.
So let’s talk baby sleep strategies to make it as seamless as possible.
“Big Bang” Approach
On the morning of the big day, let your child wake up at their usual time as per the “old” time. But then, follow your child’s regular schedule for sleep, meals, naps, wake up time, etc. according to the new time. If for example their bedtime is at 8pm before the time change, it should be 8pm after the time change. Having said that, watch your child carefully and don’t let them get overtired. If they’re totally exhausted, it’s okay to let them go to bed 10-15 minutes earlier than their usual bed-time, but as close to their usual schedule is best.
This approach works best for older children and/or for children that tend to adjust to changes in schedules fairly easily. If this does not fit your child, then follow one of our more gradual baby sleep strategies described below.
The Gradual Approach
Another option is to ease into the change by making small adjustments to your child’s sleep and wake times in the days before Daylight Saving ends. Adjust your child’s bedtime, naptime and wake up time later by 10-15 minutes every day, so that by Sunday, it’ll be less of a shock.
If you can’t start making those schedule adjustments prior to the time change, you can still use this approach starting on the day of the time change.
Regardless of the approach you choose, having an already established routine will make it easier to adjust. Don’t be surprised if your child continues initially to wake up early. However, try to not let them start the day until their regular wake-up time. This is usually lasts for a few days, sometimes longer, but eventually their bodies recognize they need more sleep and they’ll sleep longer.
If your child is in a bed (and not a crib), I recommend using a child’s “wake-up clock”. They help children know when it’s time to stay in bed and when they can get up to start the day. They can be especially effective to help manage this time changes.