It's that time of year again. Where the powers that be decide to torture the parents of small children. The dreaded time change.
The good news is that "fall back" is a lot easier to manage than "spring forward." We can put off thinking about that misery for another six months.
While you can do absolutely no preparation for the time change, this may result in early wakings and disrupted sleep for your family for a few days.
Instead, I recommend you take a few days to transition yourselves. By moving bedtime just a few minutes later each day, you can gradually shift it without causing early waking (read more about why this happens at why-does-my-child-wake-up-so-darn-early.html). You can also shift mealtime a few minutes later each day and this will also naturally help your child's body adjust to the new time.
So let's say your child normally goes to bed at 6:30 pm and gets up at 6:30 am with naps at 9 am and 1 pm. Meals are normally at 7:30, 12, and 5.
Start the transition at bedtime. I'll show a 4-day transition here but if you have time to do it more gradually, all the better!
Night One: Bedtime at 6:45 pm. Try to leave her in the crib until 6:45 am. Naps at 9:15 and 1:15. Meals at 7:45, 12:15, and 5:15.
Night Two: Bedtime at 7 pm. Try to leave her in the crib until 7 am. Naps at 9:30 and 1:30. Meals at 8, 12:30, and 5:30.
Night Three: Bedtime at 7:15. Try to leave her in the crib until 7:15 am. Naps at 9:45 and 1:45. Meals at 8:15, 12:45, and 5:45.
Night Four (the night that the clocks actually fall back): Bedtime at 7:30. And the next day, the wake and nap times will be at the correct standard (not DSL) time. So wake time is at 6:30 am standard time, nap at 9 and 1, meals at 7:30, 12, and 5.
Of course, babies are not necessarily going to immediately fall into line with their new time zone. You may see earlier wake times, disrupted naps, and even poor eating. But if you are consistent -- while also being flexible with nap times and bedtime when your child starts to show signs of being overtired -- you should have your happy, well-rested baby back within the week.
Daylight savings ends on Sunday, November 3rd for of the United States and Canada.
Daylight savings ends in Mexico on Sunday, October 27th.
Still struggling with early morning or middle of the night wakings? Let's chat and get your family the sleep you deserve.
Abby Wolfson is a pediatric nurse practitioner, certified child sleep consultant and former NICU nurse. She divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.