The end of Daylight Savings Time marks the time when we “fall back” or set our clocks back one hour. Those who aren’t parents delight in the gift of an extra hour of sleep. Those of us who have children fear waking at 5 am instead of 6 am! However, there are some basic techniques you can employ that will help this transition go smoother.
If your child’s bedtime is 7pm or later:
On Saturday before try to push your child’s bedtime forward at least fifteen minutes to a half hour if possible. The key is not to force your child to stay up too much past his/her normal bedtime because this could be counterproductive. If a child’s bedtime is pushed too far the night sleep may become disrupted and the child may also wake too soon. Continue this gradual change in time for the next several nights until your child’s bedtime has been adjusted by forty-five to sixty minutes. Be sure to keep a morning wake up time no earlier than 6 am.
If your child takes an afternoon nap then you can also push the afternoon nap 15-30 minutes later to help set him/her up for a later bedtime.
If your child’s bedtime is before 7pm:
If you have an infant who goes to bed between 6 pm and 7 pm then you can use this earlier bedtime to your advantage. On Saturday before put your baby down to sleep at his/her adjusted normal bedtime, i.e., between 5pm and 6pm. Treat this as a short nap and wake your baby after ten to fifteen minutes. This will set your baby up for a later bedtime. Your baby will most likely adjust to the new schedule very quickly.
By implementing these easy techniques your family will be back on schedule shortly. If you are one of the lucky ones, it may only take a night or two to achieve this new schedule. If this is not the case, do not worry; children should take no more than a week to adjust to their new bedtime.