On Sunday November 4th at 2am, Daylight Savings Time ends and the clocks turn back one hour. This used to be a bonus when you could take advantage of that extra hour, but now as a parent of young children, it’s just one more thing you have to navigate.
When the clock turns back one hour, what used to be 7:00am is now 6:00am. It’s lighter earlier in the morning and darker sooner in the evening. The bad news is early risers will probably rise even earlier, but the good news is you can probably get them into bed sooner too. If you would like to get ahead of “Fall Back”, follow these 4 tips to help your child adjust to the end of Daylight Saving Time.
Plan a few days ahead. You can prepare a few days ahead of time by moving your child’s entire daytime schedule later in 15-minute increments. On Thursday morning, start by offering breakfast 15 minutes later than normal, then naptime 15 minutes later and so on until the entire daytime schedule has been shifted. If your child normally goes to bed at 7pm, they should be going to bed at 7:15pm. Do the same thing the next day but move their schedule later another 15 minutes. The gradual shift should help their internal clocks adjust, making it less likely that they will wake an hour early on Sunday morning!
Block the morning light. Make sure your child’s bedroom is really dark and consider using some blackout curtains sothat the new early morning light doesn’t wake your child. Keeping the room dark encourages the production of melatonin, which helps them stay sleeping.
Avoid rushing in. If your child does wake earlier than you would like, try to leave them to amuse themselves until the normal wake up time to give their internal clocks a chance to reset. By leaving them a little longer than normal, you also give them the opportunity to go back to sleep.
Expose them to plenty of daylight. Try to expose your child to plenty of bright light, especially in the early evening. This helps reset their internal clock making it easier to adjust to the new time. If you expose them to light in the evening, it will shift their clock later, making it easier to fall asleep later and wake up later.
Try not to worry if your children aren’t adjusting as well. Children, who are easy going when it comes to schedules and have good sleep hygiene, may adjust fairly easily in just a day or two. Children who are more sleep sensitive to change in schedules may have more trouble adjusting. Just try to be patient and consistent and before you know it your children will be back on track.