Fall Back – It’s that time of year again – time to move your clocks back an hour on Sunday. I know that some of you are panicking about how the time change will affect your child’s sleep schedule. No need to worry because I have your back! Here are some simple techniques that will help make your child’s adjustment to the new time as easy as the fall breeze…
Step 1 – Do nothing. I recommend not changing your clocks Saturday night. Instead, wake-up, drink your coffee (if you’re lucky), eat breakfast and then adjust you can adjust any analog the clocks you may have. That way your family can gradually adjust to the new time throughout the day as opposed to being smacked in the face by it on Sunday morning.
Step 2 – Use the “halfsies” approach. You will gradually help your child get used to falling asleep at the new time by initially splitting the time difference. That way, you won’t have an hour-long bedtime battle on your hands. How does it work? You will have to put your child to bed a half hour earlier for three nights in a row and then on the fourth night you will put your child to bed at the new normal time. For example, if your child goes to bed at 7:00 PM you will put your child to bed at 6:30 PM on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and then on Wednesday you’ll put them to bed at 7:00 PM. Coping with a half hour time difference initially will be easier for their body clock to handle than jumping right into the hour difference.
Step 3 – What about naps? Don’t worry, I would never forget about naps, which as one client told me stands for “necessary adult peace sessions”. 🙂 You will use the same “halfsies” approach. Put your child down for their first (or only) nap a half hour earlier starting on Sunday. The only difference is that you will do this for four days in a row and then change back to the normal time on the fifth day. For example, if your child’s first nap is at 10:00 AM, you will put your child to down at 9:30 AM on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then on Thursday move it back to 10:00 AM. You will handle any additional naps in the same manner.
Note for toddlers and older kids – If your child has a “toddler clock” or an alarm clock don’t move it back the whole hour! You can adjust their clock back by a half hour for the first few days and then move it the rest of the ways by Thursday. If you don’t have a toddler clock for your little one, I highly recommend them, feel free to email me for a list of my favorites!
I hope this helps! The most important thing to remember is that it may take your child a week or even two to become fully adjusted to the new time. In the meantime, just make sure to have plenty of patience and “mommy juice” on hand.