Baby Sleep and Daylight Savings (Fall Back)

3 Ways To Help Your Baby Adjust to The New Time

The end of daylight savings is getting closer and many parents are wondering what to do to maintain their baby or toddler’s sleep habits, despite the time change. We ‘fall back’ to Standard Time on Sunday, November 7th 2010* at 2a.m. by setting our clock back one hour. That usually means that our children wake up one hour earlier the following morning.

Baby sleep challenges are not uncommon during daylight savings time adjustments. Still, there are some general tips that you can follow to have a smoother transition, regardless on how you decide to adjust your child’s schedule to the new time:

  • Continue your bedtime and naptime routines. The regular and familiar routines you follow when putting your baby to sleep should be maintained.
  • Keep your baby’s nursery dark, so the daylight (and nightlight) changes do not interfere with his/her sleep.
  • Carry on promoting positive sleep associations.
  • Remember that consistency is still key.
  • Change your watch and clocks to the new time before going to bed, November 7th.

In addition to these measures, there are three basic approaches we can follow to help children with the transition:

1. Gradual ‘Pre- Fall Back Day’ Transition

Starting Thursday, November 4th 2010, move your baby/ toddler bedtime back 15 minutes each night. Your baby’s whole daily schedule moves back those 15 minutes the day after. This way, you will have shifted your baby’s schedule ahead by one hour by the time you have to move your clock back one hour. Therefore, your baby would be going to sleep at his usual time right away, based on the Standard Time right away.

See the chart below for guidance. Note that this chart assumes baby’s current bedtime is 7pm and waking time is 7am.

For an even smoother transition, you can start moving your baby’s bedtime back 10 minutes on Tuesday November 2nd 2010.

2. Gradual ‘Post- Fall Back Day’ Transition

The day after the daylight savings time ends, Monday November 8th, 2010, your baby will most likely wake up one hour earlier than usual (based on the clock).  Starting then you should make sure your baby, toddler’s naptime and bedtime are 45 minutes earlier than his/her regular schedule the first day; 30 minutes earlier the second day; and 15 minutes earlier the third day.

The whole daily schedule adjusts to those changes accordingly. By doing this, your baby would be going to sleep and waking up at his regular times, based on the Standard Time, by Friday November 12th.

See the chart below for guidance. Note that this chart assumes baby’s current bedtime is 7pm and waking time is 7am, with the first nap at 9am and the second one at 12:30pm.

For an even smoother transition, you can adjust your baby’s schedule in increments of 10 minutes.

3. Immediate Transition

The day after the daylight savings time ends, you follow your baby’s schedule based on Standard Time. Therefore, on Monday November 8th, 2010 you switch your child ‘cold turkey’ to the new time.  This option tends to be harder on children and on parents, and would be only advisable for children who are extremely adaptable to changes and new schedules.

Regardless of the approach you decide to take, remember that every child is different and they will adjust differently to changes in their sleep schedule. It takes several days to adjust to the new times, so be prepared for your baby to wake up earlier than usual on occasions, to be crankier than usual during the afternoon, and/or to be sleepier during the first days of the transition.

Be patient, loving and consistent to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

Much love, Diana-

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*2010 Daylight Savings ends:

  • Sunday, November 7th at 2 a.m. in the United States and Canada
  • October 31st in Europe, Mexico and Central America

2010 Daylight Savings Starts in most countries of the South Hemisphere, October 3rd

 

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