19 Daylight Saving Time Sleep Tips by the Family Sleep Institute’s Top Certified Child Sleep Consultants

Daylight Saving Time sleep tipsThis year Daylight Saving Time ends on November 2nd at 2:00 am and the clocks will turn back one hour. People usually love getting that extra hour to sleep in, but many parents don’t get that luxury because their children are still used to the pre-time change schedule. However, there are tips out there for parents to prepare their children for the time change and make the transition a little bit smoother. Here are some tips by the graduates (U.S. and Canada) of our top rated child sleep consultant certification program to help you survive the Daylight Saving Time fall back.

Drifting to Dreamland – Amy Gemmiti, Easton, MA

Take steps the week before the clocks fall back to begin shifting your child’s schedules. Starting on or about October 25 and adjusting every two days, start moving your child’s schedule later by 15 minutes.

Drifting to Dreamland

Amazing Little Sleeper – Valerie Birch, Omaha, NE

Start early and write it out! Having a written plan of action can help you see where you're going and be more accountable. Begin a week prior to daylight saving and adjust your child's sleep schedule in fifteen-minute intervals. Writing the new nap and bedtimes down for each day leaves little room for error, making the transition even smoother.

Amazing Little Sleeper

Strong Little Sleepers – Lori Strong, Austin, TX 

If you have a child who is particularly sleep sensitive or who tends to wake early, prepare your child ahead of time by moving their schedule in 15 minute increments about 4 days before the time change occurs. Push naps, meals, bedtimes, and wake times later by 15 minutes every day. When we turn the clocks back, your child's schedule will be at the new time. If your child is older and adjusts well, you can wait until the day of the time change and just shift everything to the new times on November 2nd. Remember that adjusting tends to take a few days to a week, so be consistent with your child's routine and schedule during this time and try not to stress about it.

Strong Little Sleepers

Healthy Happy Sleep – Laura Swartz, Atlanta, GA

It's important to keep your child's current sleep health in mind in preparation for Daylight Saving Time. For example, if he's carrying around a sleep debt, moving all sleep periods back by 15-30 minutes a week or two before the time change will help him catch up and handle the missing hour with ease. Although this sounds counter-intuitive, earlier sleep periods result in more restorative, deeper sleep and will quickly move the child into the healthy sleeper category. An already overtired child will only become more so, and the transition will take longer without taking this important step. For a well-rested child, push all sleep periods forward by 15-30 minutes 4-5 days before the time change so that he will be able to slide into the new schedule without much effort. Don't make the mistake of going into it unprepared! Know where your child is on the "sleepy spectrum" so that the transition doesn't make matters worse!

Healthy Happy Sleep

Babes in Sleepland – Angela Walsh, Rye, NY

Starting as early as a week before, begin changing your child’s eating and sleeping schedule by 15 minutes every other day. Then by the time you actually put your clocks back, you are ahead of the game. Your child will have already transitioned smoothly to this new time.

Babes in Sleepland

Dream Little One – Danielle Rowe, San Jose, CA

BE PATIENT!!  Whether you decide to ease your child into the time change (adjusting bedtime later by 15 minutes every couple of days) or make the abrupt change on November 2nd, you need to have patience with your child. They might be getting up a little too early for your liking (blackout shades can help) or be a bit cranky due to some missed sleep. Just remember that any change in routine can take a week or 2 for your child to adjust. In the mean time, get outside and enjoy the daylight (it can be a great distraction as well as help set their sleep rhythms). This is the toughest time change but it only means that the fun Fall and Winter Festivities are near.Be patient and enjoy!

Dream Little One

Baby Sleep Right – Luanna Bruneau, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Here are tips to help your child adjust to DST a few days in advance:

Date Delay All Meals and Sleep Times by:

  • Thursday, 30 October 2014 15 min
  • Friday, 31 October 2014 30 min
  • Saturday, 1 November 2014 45 min
  • Sunday, 2 November Start according to your normal schedule

Baby Sleep Right

Fairy Sleep Mother – Christina Lattoz, Martinsville, NJ

To adjust your child's sleep routine for Daylight Saving Time, it is important to start the transition a week in advance. Start by moving daily routines fifteen minutes ahead every two days. For example, if snack time is normally at 10am, serve your little one a snack at 10:15. If bath time starts at 6:30, move it ahead to 6:45. Keep adjusting the schedule until you reach your child's new bedtime once Daylight Saving begins. It is also best to make sure you are well rested the week before this big time adjustment so it's a smoother transition on the body.

Children’s Therapy Services Sleep Support Program – Liberty Mahon, Cheshire, CT 

In order help your little one to adjust to DLS, I recommend sticking to your usual schedule. You will be adjusting everything in your daily life, including your schedule for work, meals and play, to the new time- your child's sleep schedule is no different. If naptime was at 9am before DLS then it will be 9am after DLS. During this time, make an extra effort to keep a regular schedule. Cues within your daily routines will help your child know what to expect. If your child always take a bath, read stories then goes to bed, his body will unwind in response to the particular activities leading to bedtime. He should go to bed easily regardless of the time. Just as it may take you a few days to adjust to the new times, you can expect that it will take a few days for your child's sleep to regulate as his internal clock resets.  A consistent and patient approach is your key to success.

SleepyHead Solutions – Renee Wasserman, St. Louis, MO

For the less sensitive child:

Go with the flow. Come Sunday, adjust the entire day to the new time including naps, bedtime, and meals.

For those who have difficulty with sleep transitions:

Start the transition several days before the end of DST by shifting the day (naps, bedtime, and meals) later by 15 minutes.  Each day, shift an additional 15 minutes.

Well Rested Baby – Amy Lage, Beverly Farms, MA

The "fall back" component of DST may be 2 days after Halloween, but don't let it leave you and your kids feeling like zombies.  Why is this time change scary for some parents?  Because children who were previously waking at 6:30am will now be waking at 5:30am post time change if left to their own devices.  Fear not: with simple prep work, your family can adjust with ease.  Start several days ahead of the change by keeping lights dim or off for an extra 30-60 minutes in the morning, using only the natural light coming in your windows.  In the afternoon expose your child to as much sunlight as possible and in the evening keep the lights on and bright all the way till bedtime.  As our internal clocks are set by cues from light and dark, this simple "light therapy" will help to give our clocks a jump-start.

Achieve With Carolina – Carolina Romanyuk, Brooklyn, NY

Since we will be pushing mealtime and bedtimes 15 minutes later every 3 days, our kiddies will be tired. To help them adjust easier to this time, fresh air and sunlight is a huge plus because the light resets our internal sleepy clock.

If it’s too chilly outside, you may use your indoor lighting to your advantage and turn on the lights in your home where the child is during their waking hour for this transition. Our bodies sleep system (circadian rhythm) works off light and dark. When our environment is lit up, it keeps us awake. When it’s dim or dark, we get relaxed and ready for sleeping.

Off to Dreamland – Sasha Carr, PhD, New Canaan, CT 

Do the DST change at your house all at once a day early on Saturday morning!

If making a gradual change isn’t an option or just seems like too much trouble, try changing the clocks at home before you go to bed on Friday night, and use the new time on the clock as you go about your day on Saturday. This will give everyone in your family an extra day to adjust before Monday comes around.  Just remember that sports practice, birthday parties, and other Saturday plans outside of the house will still be on "outside” time!

Meet you in Dreamland – Kerrin Edmonds, Atascadero, CA

Three days before the time change shift your child’s nap and bedtime back by 20 minutes. Then by the time Sunday comes around, it won't be a huge change.

If your child wakes early that Sunday morning, try and keep them in dim lighting for the first hour after they wake, to help their body clock reset.

But as soon as the time change has occurred, no more adjustment time. Switch cold turkey! This also goes for those of us who don't get around to readjusting our children's schedule. It might take a few days but they will adjust

If you have a toddler, a tot clock can be very helpful in letting them know when it is okay to get up for the day.

Good Night Sleep Site – Alanna McGinn, Burlington, Ontario

Parents Need Tips Too – It’s important to understand that these time changes don’t only affect our children. It can also be a tough adjustment for us parents. Where we go wrong in the Fall is that we use the “extra hour” as an excuse to stay up later and sleep in more in the morning. The best route to take is to stick to your same routine. To help adjust your own body clock go to bed at the same time each night (even though it will be darker earlier) and wake up at the same time in the morning. It shouldn’t take longer than a week for you to adapt.

Lullaby Sleep Solutions – Kristen Grippe, Erie, PA

Please DO NOT skip or shorten your child's afternoon nap in hopes she will get tired earlier than normal for bedtime.  If you start about 1 week ahead and gradually move the bedtime and naptime back in 15-minute increments for a few days at a time, then your little one will be right on schedule and you can enjoy that 1-hour of extra sleep when the clocks actually change!  Be sure to use black out shades in windows to keep the bedroom dark in the morning.  If your little one wakes an hour earlier than the clock says they should, keep your normal daily schedule with usual nap times and bedtime.

BabyZzz – Jenn Kelner, Toronto, Ontario

1. Plan a few days ahead - Prepare a few days in advance by moving your child’s daytime schedule later in 15 minute increments.

2. Block the morning light - Ensure your child’s bedroom is really dark and use some room darkening curtains to block the new early morning light.

3. Avoid rushing in - If your child does wake earlier than normal, leave them to amuse themselves until the normal wake up time to give their internal clocks a chance to reset.

4. Expose them to plenty of daylight - Expose your child to plenty of light on Sunday, especially in the morning, to help their internal clock adjust to the new time.

5. Earlier bedtime to catch up - If your child has lost some sleep due to the time change, plan for an earlier bedtime to catch up.

Baby Sleep 101 – Joleen Dilk Salyn, Winnipeg, Manitoba

It's important to recognize that a child will wake up extra early (before 5:30am) if they're overtired. With the time change coming, this early waking can be magnified and wreak havoc on a child's routine. In order to minimize extra-early risings during the first few weeks of the time change, make sure that your child is well-rested *before* the clocks move back. This means restorative naps every day and an age appropriate bedtime between 6-7:30pm for children under 4, for at least two weeks before Daylight Saving Time ends.

Mountain Dreams Family Sleep Consultants – Julie Miller, Squamish, Vancouver, Whistler, Pemberton

1. Start early: It is best to be prepared and start adjusting a week out.  Consider shifting your child’s entire schedule 10 minutes later each day for a week.

2. Follow a routine: Children cannot read a clock so your routine is how they know what time it is. Follow your complete daily routine on the new adjusted schedule.

3. Adjust sleep times earlier: You will need to adjust to an earlier bedtime gradually.  You may find your child’s usual 6:30am wake up is now 5:30am on the morning after the time change and for a few days following. You will want to compensate with an earlier nap and bedtime schedule and continue to stick to your consistent routine until your kid’s internal clock adjusts.

4. All children are unique: Remember that every child is different and they will adjust differently to changes in their sleep schedule.

5. Also keep in mind that the start and end of daylight saving time are good reminders to get caught up on safety measures around the house, such as changing the batteries in your smoke detectors and cleaning out your medicine cabinets.

Written by Family Sleep Institute Certified Child Sleep Consultants

The Family Sleep Institute is the very first comprehensive yet affordable child sleep consultant certification program based on 15 years of experience by the leading Child Sleep Expert, Deborah Pedrick. The Family Sleep Institute lives up to its name as it is truly a "family" to all graduates who go through the program. FSI instructs, mentors and certifies Child Sleep Consultants around the world.

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