How to Make Daylight Savings Time Work for Your Child







Daylight savings time used to be all fun and games before you had children. An extra hour of sleep? YES PLEASE. Lots of things change with parenthood, and I'm sure you already know, there is no parent out there who is getting "extra" sleep these days.


What can we do to help make the end of daylight savings time work for your family? My recommendation is to weigh your options and make a plan!



QUICK...name that TV show quote:


"Do you have a plan?"
"I Don't even have a Pla!"

... If you figured it out, let me know in the comments.

Also, congratulations we are now best friends

(Pun intended...)


The big time change does not have to be as stressful as you are making it out to be in your head, and I'm going to help you as much as I possibly can!


At this end of this blog you will also find a free downloadable document to help you plan your days accordingly leading up to the time change!


Most of us in the United States will turn our clocks back one hour on November 7th, 2021 at 2:00AM.



For some of these plans, you need to start implementing them almost 2 weeks before hand!

So read up now and decide which plan will work best for you and your child



When it comes to the time change you have 4 options:


  1. The Slow and Easy Approach

  2. The Quick Transition Plan

  3. The Get-er Done on the Weekend-er

  4. The Do Nothing None-Plan





The Slow and Easy Approach


What type of child this plan work for: Anyone, but especially really young babies and children who are really sensitive to change. This plan is also great for children who have the flexibility to start adjusting their schedule long before the time change occurs. If your child has to leave for daycare shortly after they wake up, then this plan may not work out too well because we are going to start adjusting their schedule forward before the time change occurs!


What type of parent this plan works for: Detailed oriented, type A, planners!


When to start this plan: Tuesday October 26th


This plan takes a very detail oriented parent who wants to plan in advance! Every three days you will work on adjusting your child's schedule later by 15 minutes. I recommend starting with the first nap of the day (if your child is no longer napping then you can start with bedtime!). If your child wakes up for the day or for their nap at an earlier time, despite you trying to adjust their day later, try to encourage them to stay in their crib/bed until as close to their new wake time as possible! It can take their little bodies some time to adjust - but they will get there! If you start this plan on Tuesday October 26th then they will be on track to adjust to the new time change when Daylight Savings Time ends!



Schedule:


Tuesday 10/26 - Thursday 10/28: Adjust 15 minutes from starting point

Friday 10/29 - Sunday 10/31: Adjust 30 minutes from starting point

Monday 11/1 - Wednesday 11/3: Adjust 45 minutes from starting point

Thursday 11/4 - Saturday 11/6: Adjust 1 hour from starting point


Example:


Example Starting Schedule for a 12 Month Old:

Wake at 7:00 AM

Nap 1: 9:30 - 11:00 AM

Nap 2: 2:00 - 3:30 PM

Bedtime: 7:00 PM


Tuesday 10/26 - Thursday 10/28:

Wake at 7:00 AM on 10/26

(Wake at 7:15 AM on 10/27 and 10/28)

Nap 1: 9:45 - 11:15 AM

Nap 2: 2:15 - 3:45 PM

Bedtime: 7:15 PM


Friday 10/29 - Sunday 10/31:

Wake at 7:15 AM on 10/29

(Wake at 7:30 AM on 10/30 and 10/31)

Nap 1: 10:00 - 11:30 AM

Nap 2: 2:30 - 4:00 PM

Bedtime: 7:30 PM


Monday 11/1 - Wednesday 11/3:

Wake at 7:30 AM on 11/1

(Wake at 7:45 AM on 11/2 and 11/3)

Nap 1: 10:15 - 11:45 AM

Nap 2: 2:45 - 4:15 PM

Bedtime: 7:45 PM


Thursday 11/4 - Saturday 11/6:

Wake at 7:45 AM on 11/4

(Wake at 8:00 AM on 11/5, and 11/6)

Nap 1: 10:30 - 12:00 AM

Nap 2: 3:00 - 4:30 PM

Bedtime: 8:00 PM


When the time changes on 11/7 your child will have had 3 full days to adjust to their new schedule and it should be back to normal!




With this plan, know that it is normal if your child does not adjust to the changes you are making right away. That's why you will introduce your new schedule for three days before you change it again. It can take them some time to adjust - this is nothing to stress about! Even if your child has not fully adjusted after three days, keep moving forward with the plan - your child may need just a little extra sleep pressure to help them to adjust. Whenever you adjust your schedule, naps may feel a little wonky - hang tight and let your child's schedule regulate! If they wake from their naps early or take longer to fall asleep then you will maintain crib time until as close to their new wake up time, or you will wake them up once they hit their new wake up time!







The Quick Transition Plan


What type of child this plan work for: Anyone, but babies who have a harder time with change may not fully adjust until 2 weeks after you start this plan! Since this plan is a consolidated version of the first plan, I find that babies who are older than 7/8 months generally do better as their wake windows are a little more flexible! Like the previous plan, this plan is also great for children who have the flexibility to start adjusting their schedule before the time change occurs. If your child has to leave for daycare shortly after they wake up, then this plan may not work out too well because we are going to start adjusting their schedule forward before the time change occurs!


What type of parent this plan works for: Type A-ish who may have procrastinated in getting ready for the end of daylight savings time!


When to start this plan: Wednesday, November 3rd


Did you forget to start adjusting your child in preparation for daylight savings time and you are now panicking? Don't worry! We can still use a consolidated version of the transitional plan. Every day leading up to daylight savings time you will work on adjusting your child's schedule later by 15 minutes. I recommend starting with the first nap of the day (if your child is no longer napping then you can start with bedtime!). If you start this plan on Wednesday November 3rd then they will be on track to adjust to the new time change when Daylight Savings Time ends!



Schedule:


Wednesday November 3rd: Adjust 15 minutes from starting point

Thursday November 4th: Adjust 30 minutes from starting point

Friday November 5th: Adjust 45 minutes from starting point

Saturday November 6th: Adjust 1 hour from starting point


Example:


Example Starting Schedule for a 18 Month Old:

Wake at 7:00 AM

Nap 1: 12:30 - 3:00 PM

Bedtime: 7:00 PM


Wednesday November 3rd:

Wake at 7:00 AM

Nap 1: 12:45 - 3:15 PM

Bedtime: 7:15 PM


Thursday November 4th

Wake at 7:15 AM

Nap 1: 1:00 - 3:30 PM

Bedtime: 7:30 PM


Friday November 5th

Wake at 7:30 AM

Nap 1: 1:15 - 3:45 PM

Bedtime: 7:45 PM


Saturday November 6th

Wake at 7:45 AM

Nap 1: 1:30 - 4:00 PM

Bedtime: 8:00 PM


Sunday November 7th

(Time Change has occurred!)

Wake at 7:00 AM

Nap 1: 12:30 - 3:00 PM

Bedtime: 7:00 PM




Some children do GREAT with this plan! Others will take some time to catch up to their new wake times. Every child is different, some will adjust after a few days, some will adjust after a few weeks. Stay consistent with your approach and you will get back on track!





The Get-er Done on the Weekend-er


What type of child this plan work for: This plan involves a fairly quick transition, and therefore it's a plan where we will need to be more flexible with wake windows! This plan can work for fairly easy going children. The older a child is, and the more easy going a child is, the better this plan will work! I typically recommend this plan for 1 year and older. This plan also may be necessary for parents who don't have the capability to adjust their child's schedule earlier due to their schedule!


What type of parent this plan works for: Type B parent who would rather not spend their weeks planning ahead for the change - or who just generally forgot to plan ahead!


When to start this plan: Friday November 5th


Oops! It's the weekend before the time change and you completely forgot that you would have to adjust your child's schedule back! Don't stress about it! Or maybe you are a working parent and you really only have the choice to wait until the weekend.. Don't worry! I have a plan for you too! For this plan you will need to push wake windows by 30 minutes at a time. For some children this will feel like a piece of cake, for others it will be HARD - especially really sensitive or young children. My advice is to be very intentional with your time, get outside if you can, rotate out your toys or activities, or get in the bath! Who said you can't take three baths a day! For this tactic we will take a different approach of moving bedtime later on Friday Night. This can be tricky - the last thing we want to do is make your child incredibly overtired. Set a goal for 10 minutes at a time, if you notice that your child becomes overtired then start heading to bed. We will just need to take things a little slower. The good news about this plan is that since we are starting on Friday night, we have all day Sunday as a buffer day - if you have not naturally met your goals by Sunday morning then you have Sunday to reinforce the new schedule or to continue inching along to your goals.


Example Starting Schedule for a 12 Month Old:

Wake at 7:00 AM

Nap 1: 10:00- 11:00

Nap 2: 2:00-3:30

Bedtime: 7:00 PM


Friday November 5th

Wake at 7:00 AM

Nap 1: 10:00- 11:00

Nap 2: 2:00-3:30

Bedtime: 7:30 PM


Saturday November 6th

Wake at 7:30 AM

Nap 1: 10:30- 11:30

Nap 2: 2:30-4:00

Bedtime: 8:00 PM


Sunday November 7th

(Time Change has occurred!)

Wake at 7:00 AM

Nap 1: 10:00- 11:00

Nap 2: 2:00-3:30

Bedtime: 7:00 PM


This is the plan we will be doing with our own boys! It is normal for it to feel hard at first, but I would rather have a couple of days that feel hard, then to have the process drawn out over a couple of weeks. Keep in mind that my boys are older as well (Almost 2 and a half!) so their wake windows are more flexible then those of a 4 month old. If your child is not adjusting well to the plan then maintain your new bedtime and nap times for a solid 2 weeks - it can just take some time. It is so important to remember that the goal is to not let your child get overtired - overtired children will experience sleep disruptions - if your child starts to become overtired then you may need to put them down earlier and take a slower approach. Even if that means that you are not fully adjusted until well after Daylight savings time.




The Do Nothing Plan!


What type of child this plan work for: Any child!


What type of parent this plan works for: Anyone, but especially families who have the ability to be more flexible with their schedules (not dependent on a set wake time in order to follow their typical schedule)


Just because adults have to be cognitive of a time change, does not mean that our children do! If you have the freedom and desire to avoid adjusting their schedule, then don't! Let your children to continue to wake when they naturally would.


For some children this may mean that while they used to wake at 7:30, they will now wake at 6:30. Maybe you are naturally a morning person and this will work well for you, or maybe you are just excited about an even earlier bedtime (Hello to the child free life at 6:30 PM!)


Some of you may have noticed that your children have naturally already adjusted over the past few weeks. As the sun starts rising later and later in the morning, your child may naturally have pushed their wake time. When they used to get up at 6:00 AM they might now be naturally rising at 7:00 AM - so when the time changes the