If you are super organized about this – and I’ve never succeeded in this, so no judgment from me – you should start preparing your child for the end of Daylight Savings Time today.
In the United States, the clocks “fall back” this year on Sunday, November 7.
That means if your child normally wakes up at 6 am, he will wake up at 5 am next Sunday morning, according to the clock.
And if she normally goes to bed at 7 pm, her bedtime will become 8 pm.
If you’ve ever talked to me, you know that early morning wakings are generally caused by too-late bedtimes. And if you suddenly move your child’s bedtime an hour later – on Sunday night, no less – you are very likely to have an ugly, tired, whiny week for the entire family.
But if you can get organized – and again, this is no easy feat – you can make the time change pretty easy on yourselves.
Start moving your child’s bedtime and wake times 10 minutes later TODAY. So move bedtime from 7:00 to 7:10 pm. Those few minutes should not be enough to cause chaos, assuming your child is otherwise well-rested.
In the morning, try not to get your child up before 6:10 instead of 6 am (assuming 6 am is your desired wake time, DWT).
Just to make things more complicated, tomorrow you ALSO need to move meal times and nap times later. So a 9 am nap becomes a 9:10 am nap, and a 12 pm lunch time becomes a 12:10 pm lunch time.
Continue to do this each day, and pause for a day if your child gets too overtired. There’s no reason you have to have the entire transition done before DST ends, but it will certainly help if you are most of the way there. You can continue to transition that Sunday and even that Monday.
If you don’t start quite early enough, you can also move the schedule by 15-minutes per day. You may have more overtiredness that way, but maybe not, too. It just depends how sensitive your child is.
One final suggestion: try to make next week a low stress week. Veterans Day is that following Thursday, November 11, so that will hopefully make the week a little easier than normal.
If you'd like help transitioning your child to a more liveable schedule where you all get more sleep, set up a free discovery call and find out how to make this dream come true.
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.