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Daylight Savings Time & Your Baby's Sleep

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

How do I handle the fall time change & my child's sleep:

This time change has to do with your child being slightly overtired.

Your family is absorbing an extra hour into their day, so for babies and young children, their nap times and bedtimes will feel like they will never come.

Follow these easy steps to help adjust your family to the 'fall back' time change.

If your child is well rested and is generally not sensitive to change (1 hour), then I say follow the clock. On Sunday morning, the clock will say 6AM, but it really feels like 7AM to you and your child. Leave them in their room/bed until close to 7AM (clock time) as possible, but if they are raring to go at 6AM, that's okay too. Practice waiting 10/15 minutes over the course of a few days before exposing your child to light or milk/food.

Time change and your baby's naps

It will make for a LONG morning and afternoon, so IF your child is melting before your eyes, put them down for their nap 30 minutes early, but be sure to cap their naps at their typical duration. Then the same goes for bedtime; put them down 30 minutes early. You have a two-fold change working against you! The clocks have changed, AND you all have an extra 1-hour of awake time in the day. To combat this, always go conservative with early bedtime.

What to do on Monday after the time changes

You can just follow the clock starting Monday (following the time change), the early mornings should disappear in about 5 days and all will be well again!

If you have a very young baby or child who doesn't sleep well at night, you may follow a slower approach. As said above, delay getting your child out of bed, but you may need to allow for earlier bedtime and naps across the duration of 5-7 days. Ideally, by one week into the time change, you are following the original times on the clock again.

Quick Tips on how to handle the time change with your baby's sleep:

+ If you have a child who is sensitive to change, continue with the early nap and bedtime for up to 3 -7 days (30 minutes early, which actually feels like 30 minutes later than usual).

+ Preschoolers who can tell time on a digital clock could benefit from this trick!

Cover the minutes with electrical tape and set the clock forward by 30 minutes. This way when it reads 7AM they will have successfully waited for 30- minutes which is a win for everyone! If you have a Hatch clock, this is a great clock to be able to manipulate for your young child. Praise them (over the top!) after they have waited a short period of time! Don't have a toddler clock yet? This one is my favorite!

Questions about the time change? Head on over to the Gram for extra content to help you!

Lindsay Loring is a Pediatric Sleep Consultant with Tweet Dreamzz Sleep Consulting helping families all over the world. She finds passion and joy in helping others get more rest in their day. Lindsay has twin girls and lives in the Metro East St. Louis, MO area.

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