Prefer to listen to this topic? I got you covered! You can listen or read about the end of DST and how you can adjust your child’s schedule.
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love fall. Maybe it’s because I live in Texas and fall is the only season that’s bearable. But the cool weather, the sweaters, the boots — I love it all. The time change, however, I could do without.
Today I’m going to share your step-by-step guide to navigating daylight savings time so that your child can continue to thrive and your whole household can get the sleep they need.
Now, I’m not a planner and usually forget about daylight savings until the day of, so I’m not going to give you a plan that involves doing anything weeks before. I personally would want a plan that I can implement that day and rip the bandaid off, essentially.
So let’s get into it! How can you help your child transition to the new time without leaving either of you overly exhausted?
Note: if you have a newborn (in my book, a newborn is considered 1 day old to 3 months old), this doesn’t apply to you. Skip down to the bottom of this post for tips specific to your child.
The Night Before Time Change
Chances are, your phone (and maybe even clocks) will automatically update with the new time overnight, so you don’t need to worry about doing that. However, if the thought of waking up an hour early mentally drains you, you may want to turn your clocks around so you don’t see them when you wake up in the morning.
Because, although your phone will get the memo that the time is changing, your child’s body won’t. And they’ll wake up after their usual night of sleep, which will look like it’s an hour earlier to you.
So the night before the time change, you don’t have to do anything differently. In fact, I know you may think about keeping your child up later to hopefully get them to sleep in, but don’t do that. It will backfire and it will hurt.
The Day of the Time Change (Sunday)
When your child wakes up at their “normal” time, it will seem like it’s an hour earlier, but their bodies (and hopefully yours) will feel just fine and ready to start the day. So go ahead and do that.
Eat breakfast, drink coffee, enjoy your little one as much as you can.
For naps, you’re going to put your little one to sleep 30 minutes earlier than you normally do, although this will feel 30 minutes later for them.
For example: If they normally take a nap at 10:00 a.m., you’re going to put them down at 9:30 a.m.. This will look like it’s 30 minutes earlier on the clock, but it’s actually 30 minutes later than what they’re used to. You’ll do this for all of their naps for three days (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday).
When it’s time for bed, you’ll put your child down 30 minutes earlier than their usual bedtime, although this will actually be 30 minutes later. For example, if bedtime is usually at 7:30 p.m., you will put them down at 7:00 p.m. (according to the clock), but it will feel like it’s 8:00 p.m. Again, you’ll do this for three days.
After three days of following this pattern, your child’s body will have adjusted and you can switch back to their normal schedule.
That’s not too bad, right?
Newborn Tips for Daylight Savings Time
The reason newborns might not be able to swing the outlined plan above is because their wake windows are normally 30-90 minutes. And if your little one is used to taking naps 45 minutes after they wake up, they won’t be able to handle staying awake for an additional 30 minutes.
At this age, you probably aren’t following a clock schedule — you’re probably just following their lead and putting them to bed when they seem tired.
And depending on your child, they may or may not have a predictable pattern of sleep and wake times.
So how do you handle daylight savings time with a newborn?
Act as if it were any other day.
You might need an extra cup of coffee because *technically* you’re waking up an hour early (according to the clock). But your little one will quickly adapt to the change in seasons and you probably won’t notice much of a difference.
During the day, it’s important to let natural light in so your child’s circadian rhythm can sync back up, but following wake windows will be key in helping prevent overtiredness.
What if you don’t want to change their schedule?
In some cases, you may decide not to change your child’s schedule by pushing their naps back. For example, if your child is going to be starting daycare and you actually need them to wake up earlier, then letting them wake at their normal time and keeping naps an hour earlier is a good idea.
What would this look like?
If your child’s normal schedule is:
7 a.m. wake up
12 p.m. nap
7 p.m. bedtime
Then when the time changes, they will naturally wake up at their usual time, although it will be an hour earlier on the clock. So it will be:
6 a.m. wake up
11 a.m. nap
6 p.m. bedtime
If this works for your situation, you’re absolutely free to keep it that way!
- If your child is a newborn, you don’t need to change their schedule since they aren’t really on a schedule. Continue to follow their wake windows to prevent overtiredness.
- If you would actually prefer your child to wake up an hour earlier for scheduling purposes, then do nothing and adjust their nap and bedtime to an hour earlier than what it normally was. Technically, this is the same time, but it will appear as an hour earlier.
- In other cases, you will bump naptime and bedtime up by 30 minutes (although this will feel like 30 minutes later to your child’s body) for 3 days. After 3 days, you can go back to following the clock for your child’s schedule.
Have questions about daylight savings time or need guidance on a specific sleep situation? Message me on Instagram – I’d love to help!