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Here we go again: Daylight Savings Time Ends - Falling Back



I'm posting this on Halloween because I think this is one of the scariest things a parent will ever have to deal with!!!


Daylight savings time usually ends in early November and results in “gaining” an hour where our clocks fall back. No matter how you dice it, DST is a dreaded time of year for parents. Children can’t read clocks and their bodies become accustomed to waking at the same time each day. Which is why parents must be thoughtful about adjusting their baby’s internal clocks.


Remember that this is a shift in body clock and it takes time. It usually takes about 4 weeks for people to really feel settled into the time change. Be patient and consistent – it will happen!


I have three options for you to help your little one adjust to the new time. I've done them all and I don't think there is a better or easier one. It's just what you can manage.


Option 1 - don't change anything until the actual day of


In this option, don’t change anything nor change your clocks on Saturday. All the changes will happen on Sunday. This works well for older babies or kids who are on one or no nap.

Pre-Schoolers and older children who are not napping: Split the time difference at bedtime. For example, if your child usually goes to bed at 7:00 p.m. but the clock now says 6:00 p.m., put your child to bed at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday night (which is the first night of the time change). Do this for three nights and on the fourth night begin putting them to bed at 7:00 p.m.

Toddlers and children taking one nap: Put your child to sleep for nap 30 minutes earlier than usual. If they typically nap at 12:30 p.m. put them down at 12:00 p.m. Repeat for bedtime – so if your child usually goes to bed at 7:30 p.m. put them to bed at 7:00 p.m. Do this for three nights and on night four put them to bed at their normal time. Then move their nap to the regular time on day five.


Infants and toddlers taking two naps: Usually babies taking two naps are on a predictable nap schedule. This usually happens around 6-8 months. To adjust to the fall time change, put them down for naps and bedtime 30 minutes earlier than usual. So if they typically take their first nap at 9:30 a.m. you will now put them down at 9:00 a.m. Do the same thing for the second nap and bedtime. Do this for three days and on the fourth day go back to their regular nap and bed times.


Infants with unpredictable schedules (6 months and younger): Your baby’s schedule is likely not too predictable yet. In this case, jump right into the new time change (making sure you don't establish waking up for the day any earlier than 6:00 a.m.) and focus on your wake windows. In some cases, you may need to stretch your wake windows about 15 minutes (for one or all naps) to keep in rhythm with your baby's usual bedtime.


Option 2: Make gradual changes leading up to the change


Here, you are making the changes in anticipation of the change. You will basically do the same thing as above, but just before the change. I like to start 5 - 7 days before the change to allow time to make change and adjust. This works best for babies on 2-3 naps.

Pre-Schoolers and older children who are not napping: Split the time difference at bedtime for a few days. For example, if your child usually goes to bed at 7:00 p.m., stretch it out to 7:30 p.m. for a few days. Do this for three nights and on the fourth night begin putting them to bed at 8:00 p.m. This will eventually become 7:00 p.m. when the time falls back.

Toddlers and children taking one nap: Put your child to sleep for nap 30 minutes later than usual. If they typically nap at 12:30 p.m. put them down at 1:00 p.m. Repeat for bedtime – so if your child usually goes to bed at 7:30 p.m. put them to bed at 8:00 p.m. Do this for three nights and on night four put them to bed another 30 minutes later at 8:30 p.m. Then move their nap to 1:30 p.m. on day five. These times will eventually become 12:30 and 7:30 again when the time changes.


Infants and toddlers taking two naps: Usually babies taking two naps are on a predictable nap schedule. This usually happens around 6-8 months. To adjust to the fall time change, put them down for naps and bedtime 30 minutes later than usual. So if they typically take their first nap at 9:30 a.m. you will now put them down at 10:00 a.m. Do the same thing for the second nap and bedtime. Do this for three days and on the fourth day move them forward another 30 minutes. This will eventually turn into their regular nap times when the time changes.


Infants with unpredictable schedules (6 months and younger): Your baby’s schedule is likely not too predictable yet. In this case, jump right into the new time change (making sure you don't establish waking up for the day any earlier than 6:00 a.m.) and focus on your wake windows. In some cases, you may need to stretch your wake windows about 15 minutes (for one or all naps) to keep in rhythm with your baby's usual bedtime.


Option 3: Do nothing


Yup, you read that right. If you don't do anything your child will eventually adjust because the rest of the us are now operating on a different time and schedule. Your child's will inevitably adjust simple because of that.


Conclusion


I do feel that this time change, falling back, is a bit easier to transition into than springing forward. After all, "gaining" an hour is pretty nice! No matter how you decide to tackle it, remember that while yes there will be a transition period, your child will adjust (as will you). And who knows, perhaps this is the penultimate time we will have to do this?? One can only hope.


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