Sleep Tips For Surviving "Fall Back" Time Change

Updated: Oct 28

Time change is always a hot topic with parents.   Many are afraid that the time change is going to completely destroy their child's sleeping patterns and this will lead to having a VERY early morning wake up time.   

So what is the big deal with having the time go an hour back?  It's an extra hour of sleep right?  Who wouldn't want an extra hour of sleep?  The answer.....your child's internal clock does not change with the clock on the wall in your house.  Your child does not know that it is not the "usual" time to wake up. Their circadian rhythms (physical, mental and behavioural changes that generally follow a 24-hour cycle) are in charge.

The main reasons this time change causing so much havoc with everyone, is that is causes nap time/bedtime to be thrown off schedule and can in turn, create earlier morning wake times. This is may lead to your little one being overtired and cranky which can make it even more difficult to settle them at nap time and bedtime.

Some children can easily adapt to the time change and you do not have to do anything. But for others, they may need to have a little help adjusting if they are already sleep/schedule sensitive.

Here are a few tips to make it a smooth transition:

SLEEP SCHEDULE CHANGE: Gradually adjust your child's schedule later by 10-15 minutes over a few days in anticipation of the time change. If morning nap usually starts at 8:30am then on day one, nap time will be 8:45am.  Continue to do this until you get to the appropriate time change. This will allow your child to slowly get used to the time change and help prevent them from being overtired during the day.  

DAILY ACTIVITIES:  Not only will the sleep schedule change by an hour but so will everything else during the day.  Playtime and mealtimes will also have to be adjusted.   Keeping up with the same daily routine is important to help ease the transition.

SET THE CLOCKS: This is especially important to remember if your child is using a "Tot Clock" /"Ok To Wake"/ "Stoplight" clock of any type!  On Saturday before you head to bed set all of your clocks around your house an hour back, so when everyone wakes up in the morning, ALL the clocks will be set a the correct time.

ROUTINE: Consistency is the key! You will want to keep your child's bedtime routine the same so they are receiving the same sleepy cues they are accustomed to.

KEEP IN MIND: A well-rested child will best adapt to the time change. Try to go out of the house during the day to keep your child active, get some sunshine (hopefully!) and offer some relaxing activities in the evening to help wind down.

Happy Sleeping!

We are always here to help with those bumps in the road so if you are finding that you may need a little extra help, contact Babes & Beyond (www.babesandbeyond.com) for a free 20 minute "Get Acquainted" consultation. We are helping families all over the world get the sleep they need!

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Ottawa, Ontario

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