Get ready to Fall Back
Daylight Saving Time ends in the United States and Canada on November 7th at 2:00am.
No matter what you call DST, Daylight Saving Time, Daylight Savings (emphasis on the ‘s’) Time, if your region uses DST, it can change the dynamic of what’s happening in your home and get parents of little ones concerned about the upcoming sleep changes.
I remember I used to get so excited about “falling back.” I would use that extra hour to catch up on sleep, or I would just take the time to enjoy the crisp fall weather, or just stay up later!
Now, I get a little annoyed as most people do, because when we set the clocks back one-hour, it messes with us. And by us, I mean you, me and our children too. The good news is, this too shall pass, it will be short lived. Let’s stir up some good vibes, look for the positives and focus on our ability to work on our patience and flexibility muscles.
Making the transition for Daylight Saving Time
- Use light to help you. Starting on Wednesday or Thursday before DST, start to encourage more natural or artificial light at night the hour before bed. In the morning keep it dim and quiet until it’s time to wake up in your home. Turn lights on and offer breakfast or a feeding to say, “now it’s time to start our day!”
- Use black out shades, if needed. Some children are light sensitive. if your child is, using darkening shades as a tool can help minimize the light distractions in the early morning.
- Decide what approach you will do. Below, you’ll see a couple of approaches in how to make the transition. Making a decision is the first step in being your child’s calm and confident leader.
- Write it down. Writing out your plan will help you commit and follow through with the changes you desire in your home. Review your schedule, family rhythms and figure out the best way to approach the bedtime, nap, and meal transitions for your family. The bedtime plan chart below can help you get started.
- Be consistent and follow through with your plan. Work as a team to help everyone be accountable for the timing changes.
- Follow your routines. The flexible routines you have around eating , sleeping, and playing help your child know what to expect. Your child is looking for predictable routines, which allows you to tweak the timing of when these occur in your home.
- Keep up your consistent response. Sometimes we may implement a plan to find that our little one still wakes up earlier than we would like. This will be a good time to start using your consistent response you’ve used to coach your child while getting sleep in place in your home. Some families may choose to shuffle their little one in the morning until it is their correct wake time.
- Be available. Make time to connect with your little one during the transition. It never fails that children will need a little more TLC from mom or dad when change occurs because they can feel a little disorganized.
- Be patient with your child and yourself. Change is hard for everyone so be mindful of your responses during this transition.
- Change your mind. Do your mindset work and remind yourself “this too shall pass!” My old self would live in the pity party and blame things like the time change disrupting my life, making my life harder, and ruining my children’s sleep. The reality is, it does, but it’s short lived, and it was probably not as dramatic as I made it out to be. My new self recognizes Daylight Saving Time as an inconvenience, I do have a short pity party, and might complain a little. I am human, but then I move on and don’t get stuck there. In your journey of parenting you’ll go through many seasons, and I can guarantee that change is the only thing that’s consistent. So remember “this too will pass.” That’s my mantra. What’s yours?
No fuss- Just do it- cold turkey Daylight Saving Time approach
Some families may choose a no fuss, just do it, cold turkey approach and adjust to the new time on Sunday. Be sure to throw in a bonus nap if you have a little one so they don’t get overtired by bedtime. On Sunday and thereafter, adjust naps, meals and your routine to the Standard Time. This tends to be the approach most families use, and it works well for some families and everyone’s personality types.
Little by little, a gradual approach for Daylight Saving Time
Since it’s normal and common for children younger than 5 to have bedtimes between 6:30 and 8:00pm , the week before Daylight Saving Time you can choose to make a 4 or 6 day plan which shifts the circadian rhythm in 10 or 15 minute increments. Changing habits can be hard, depending on our child’s temperament, so doing a little by little approach can help you and your child ease into it, and you are more likely to be consistent. Use the chart to help guide you in what makes sense for your home. The chart uses 7pm as a typical bedtime. Make adjustments according to your child’s bedtime.
Rest assured that within a week or so the transition will even itself out, and everyone will be back on track with the sleep habits you once had in your home!
If after you’ve tried all these tips and you’re still not satisfied with your current sleep habits in your home, click here to set up a time on my calendar for us to talk.
Make it a great night!