Do you know what is even scarier than Hallowe’en? The dreaded “Fall Back” time change, when the clocks go back by an hour. Eek! This means parents of young children suddenly have early risers on their hands, as the 6am wake-up suddenly becomes 5am. Gasp!
Here are two options to help manage the time change:
Adjustments in Advance
This one is good for all the planners out there. Start shifting your child’s schedule 4 days before the time change, and adjust by 15 minutes each day. For example, if bedtime is regularly 7pm, then bump to 7:15pm, then 7:30pm, 7:45pm and finally to 8pm. This way when the time shift happens, their bedtime reverts back to the regular 7pm.
While you are making the transition, you will likely find your child wakes up at their regular time (circadian rhythm stuff). That’s okay – give them a bit more time in their crib/bed before you get them up for the day. It is going to take some time to shift their internal wake-up time.
Split the Difference
This option tends to work better for toddlers and older children who are able to tolerate a bit more ‘stretch’ to their awake times than infants can. It is also great if you are reading this and the time change has already happened (I’ve got you)!
In this case, once the time change happens, you are going to bump their bedtime by 30 minutes for the first few days (e.g. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday). For example, if bedtime is normally 7pm, then put them down at 6:30pm. On Wednesday, just go back to the regular schedule with bedtime at 7pm.
A few things to note:
- Remember the above options apply to naps and mealtimes as well – you’ll want to shift the entire schedule as best you can
- It takes up to a week for our internal body clocks to shift, so try your best to be patient with yourself and your child – in the meantime….coffee!
If you are still experiencing early morning wakings a week after the time change, don’t hesitate to book a complimentary 15 minute phone call with Cara for some advice and insights on sleep!
Cara Myre is a Senior Sleep Consultant with WeeSleep who helps tired families across the globe. Visit www.wee-sleep.com to book your free 15 minute phone consultation and follow her on Instagram for regular tips on sleep.