• Emma Jackson

Preparing for the End of Day Light Saving Time

Updated: Jun 23, 2021

While messing with our natural body clocks is not ideal, I love that this is the one time of the year that we all get one bonus hour in our day. My goal is always to use that extra hour to sleep...but maybe one extra hour to play with my kids is more realistic

However you end up spending your bonus hour, I’ve explained below how to make sure the transition doesn’t result in sleep struggles on top of sleep struggles. There are two options for handling this time of the year depending on your love or disinterest in planning ahead.

OPTION A, for those who love planning ahead: Put October 26th in your calendar as the first day you’re going to adjust your child’s sleep schedule by 15 minutes later. Remember, that will ideally include your child’s OK to Wake time, all nap times, and bedtime. Food and play will also be adjusted accordingly. Then, every two days, adjust by another 15 minutes later until it is November 1st and your schedule has been adjusted by exactly one hour. Let me be really clear, because this is confusing - if your child's regular bedtime is 6:00pm, then you will start by adjusting bedtime to 6:15pm, then 6:30pm, then 6:45pm, then on November 1, bedtime will be what would have been 7:00pm, and is now 6:00pm because the clock fell back by one hour.

OPTION B, for those who live in the moment: Beyond reading this post, don’t give it anymore thought. Just continue your schedule based on what the clock says, all day and every day.

What you really need to know regardless of how you feel about planning ahead: Adjusting anyone’s body clock takes time (between a few days to a week for a one hour time change), so do expect some sleep struggles. I’m talking about bedtime or naptime resistance, night wakings, early risings, and increased moodiness. All kids are different and some will adjust with ease, while others will struggle more. They will adjust and all struggles with end as long as you can maintain your loving but firm boundaries around sleep. Any sleep disruptions will only last a few days if you can mentally prepare for minor struggles, and maintain your consistency.

If your child is someone who struggles more because of the time change and naps have been either short of missed, and night sleep has been interrupted, your best bet is to implement a temporary extra early bedtime (as early as 5:30pm) to make up for lost sleep. This is your best tool to avoid extra cranky overtired little ones. Otherwise, just wait it out, maintain sleep boundaries, and everyone will be back to normal before November 7.

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