• Emma Jackson

Fall Back with Confidence in 2021

Daylight Saving Time is ending soon on Sunday November 7, 2021. It’s going to give us more sun in the morning, and more darkness in the evening. It’s going to mean that suddenly, our child’s 7pm bedtime is going to actually feel like 8pm, and even scarier, their usual 7am wake time is going to feel like 8am….so the whole house might be awake at 6am.


There are a few ways to best prepare for this annual change depending on the sensitivity of your little sleeper. If you have a more sensitive sleeper who struggles when naps are missed or schedules are shifted, then a gradual approach may be appropriate. If you have a less sensitive sleeper, then you can get away with a less gradual approach. Regardless of the exact approach you use to help your child adjust to the time change, there are a few things that I do highly recommend to make the process easier on your little one.


  1. Get outside! Circadian rhythms need to adjust, and exposure to direct sunlight is going to be the most efficient and direct way to assist in this transition. Get your little one outside as much as possible during wake times to help their little brains recognize the clear difference between the light that is present during daytime play and the absence of light that is present during sleep times.

  2. Ensure the sleep environment is conducive to sleep. This means the room is safe, boring, cool, quiet, and dark. Is there light coming into your child’s sleep room? Block it and then bask in the joy when you see how much easier they are going to fall asleep and stay asleep in a truly blacked out room.

  3. Keep your routines around sleep very consistent. Your lovingly simple but extremely predictable bedtime and pre-nap routines should be a constant no matter when exactly sleep times land. These routines keep our kiddos feeling safe and secure, and ease transitions from wake to sleep even amidst big changes.


If you can do those three things to facilitate a smooth time change around your child’s sleep needs, then you are in a good place already and you have very lucky kids. Now here are the two main categories of options for further facilitating a smooth time change:


  1. You have a sensitive sleeper who will benefit from a more gradual approach: Set a reminder for November 1st to gradually shift bedtime later by 15 minute increments every two day. By the time November 7 rolls around, your child will be ready for a bedtime that is one hour later than usual. Just make sure to also gradually shift your child’s OK to Wake time and nap times by the same 15 minute increments so everything lines up smoothly.

  2. Your child tends to adjust well to minor changes: In this case, adjust right along with the clock! No need to plan ahead and recognize that if your child does demonstrate minor sleep disruptions, they will subside soon as long as lovingly firm boundaries around sleep are maintained. It is worth noting though, that too late bedtimes can make sleep more difficult for babies and young children, so even if you're not planning ahead, it may help to offer a few nights of extra early bedtimes (15-30 minutes earlier than normal) to help them avoid going to bed in an overtired state that will make sleep more difficult.


Daylight Savings changes are difficult for all of us, but we can all rely on exposure to the sun, extra dark sleep environments, and pre-sleep routines. For our babies and children, maintain those lovingly firm boundaries around sleep, and either plan ahead with a gradual approach or don’t plan ahead at all but consider a temporary extra early bedtime to use temporarily. We will all get through this and maybe someday we won’t have to do this anymore at all!



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