Adjusting Your Child's Schedule for Daylight Saving Time
Updated: Nov 1, 2022
Daylight saving time is ending next week, but it doesn’t have to feel like your schedule is going to collapse around you. This may be especially painful for parents that already have a little one who wakes early, I’m looking at your 5am parents, but rest assured, we can get everyone back on track with small, daily adjustments!
Let’s be honest, most parents do not gain an hour of sleep just because we set the clocks to “fall back” at the end of daylight saving time. For most, it means earlier mornings and less sleep with its effects lingering for days after the time change. If you’re worried about helping your child through the time change, I’m here to help make the adjustment a smoother transition for your entire household.
Option 1: Adjust the schedule!
Each day, beginning the Wednesday before time changes, you’re going to start your little one’s day 15 minutes later each morning. If your little one happens to wake up before the shifted morning wake time, allow them to stay in the quiet, dark environment until the designated time, at which point you will wake them up with lots of light and the normal activities of the morning. Shifting your morning routine by 15 minutes will shift the remainder of your day naturally until Saturday morning when your child is waking up 60 minutes later than usual to prepare for the fall back change during the evening.
If 15 minute is too much for your little one, you can try adjusting their schedule by 10 minutes beginning Tuesday morning in order to go at a slower pace. If you’re late to the game realizing that time change is on the horizon, you can also adjust your little one’s schedule by 30 minutes, but I only recommend this if your little one has a solid sleep foundation!
Need help laying a solid sleep foundation? Check out our blog post here.
Option 2: Move Bedtime
Instead of moving wake-up time, move bedtime later by 15 minutes each evening; however, if your little one is already going to bed too late, keep it the same to make it where your little one is in bed an hour earlier come Sunday! One this you want to be beware when moving bedtime is early morning risings! Battling early morning risings
Option 3: Do Nothing!
You may also decide that changing your little one’s schedule is more of a headache than it’s worth so you do nothing to prepare for daylight saving time. I find this approach works well if your child is older (18+ months), well-rested, and if you’re already consistent about implementing regular wake-up times in your household. If you choose this route, you will simply have a summer and winter bedtime.
Regardless of the method you choose to help your child adjust to DST, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Stay consistent with starting your morning 10/15 minutes later each day
Maintain normal wake windows
Keep your bedtime routine consistent to prepare your child for sleep regardless of what the clock may read. (Psst..they can’t read yet so they rely on a consistent pattern of activities to know what is coming next!)
Use light and darkness to help your little one’s hormones adjust
Be patient as changing your little one’s schedule and circadian rhythm takes time!
We often take sleep for granted but realizing how important it is for our little
one’s growth and development is something that can’t be ignored. Quality sleep plays a vital role in the brain’s ability to make new pathways and memories, and the body’s ability to grow and repair itself.
If you and your little one are struggling with poor quality of sleep, please know help is available! We would love to discuss how to help your household sleep peacefully again on a FREE 15-minute discovery call. Integrating child development, parental health, and normative childhood sleep patterns at the center of our sleep philosophy, we customize every sleep plan to get your family sleeping peacefully again. Healthy sleep habits (and confident parents) make for healthier, happier children.