Four Tips to Surviving Daylight Savings Time

Turn back the clocks one hour on Saturday night so they are set for Sunday morning.

Daylight Savings is days away, but no big issue, right?! You’ve been focusing on establishing or maintaining excellent sleep up to this point to ensure this transition is easy and smooth. If not…no worries, there is still time (click here for help). To continue on this journey of easy sleep through the daylight savings time change, follow my tips below:

1.  Tune In With Your Attitude and Feelings

Did you know that parents or guardian’s feelings and emotions about sleep can highly dictate how well (or poorly) a child sleeps? Your child is super intuitive, so if you’re feeling stressed or anxious about this change – so will they – which can lead to a stickier transition. As Janet Lansbury, author of No Bad Kids and promoter of RIE parenting, states: when setting limits, the emotional state of the parent always dictates the child’s reaction. If we lack clarity or confidence, lose our temper, or are unsure, tense, frazzled or frustrated, this will unsettle our kids and lead to more undesirable behavior…in this case worse sleep.  We are idols in our children eyes and our feelings and emotional state sets the tone.

2.  Mentally Prepare; This Transition Will Take Longer Than One Day

We live in a fast-paced, “I want this done yesterday”, world. Sleep does not work that way. Mentally prepare yourself that you’ll be focusing on this sleep transition for a week. Setting up the right perspective can decrease the anxiousness of poor sleep in a few days. Sleep will be off and unsteady on Monday, but being consistent and knowing this shift is slow and gradual will get you through it. You’ll soon be nearing Sunday, November 12 (one week after DLS) and sleep will have found it’s new groove.

3.  Sunday Changes & Beyond

Daylight Savings ends on Sunday, November 5th at 2:00am CST.  If you’re like me, calculating the time differences around DLS prior to it occurring can create a jumble of confusion.  Personally, I like to stick to our normal sleep times and routines right up until Saturday evening. Everyone is in bed at their normal time Saturday evening.   Then just before I head to bed at 10:00pm, I will set all my clocks back one hour to 9:00pm.  This ensures I know my clocks are at the appropriate time when we wake up Sunday morning.  We will wake up refreshed and ready to adjust sleep times as needed. 

On Sunday, focus on two major areas:

  • Adjust all times: snack times and meal times, along with sleep times.
  • Watching YOUR child for when they become tired.  When you notice a change in mood, behavior or sleepiness plan to nap them within 15 minutes to avoid the over tired state.  Do this despite the clock time.
Here is an example of how your Sunday may go if you have a child on two naps a day:
Wake-Up: 5:30am (remember it feels like 6:30am in their body)
Breakfast:  6:00am
Nap 1:  8:00am
Lunch:  11:00am
Nap 2: 12:00pm
Snack:  2:30/3:00pm
Dinner:  4:30/5:00pm
Bedtime: 5:00-6:30pm  (Remember, this MUST be earlier than your “normal” bedtime)

Your Sunday may feel like everything is happening so early – and that is perfect!  Over the course of each day, you’ll slowly adjust your timings to be 10-15 minutes later.

i.e Monday
Wake-Up: 5:45am
Breakfast:  6:15am
Nap 1: 8:15am
Lunch: 11:15am
Nap 2: 12:15pm
Snack: 2:45/3:15pm
Dinner: 4:45/5:15pm
Bedtime: 5:15-6:45pm  (Don’t push bedtime too fast or you’ll create more night wakings or an EARLIER morning wake-up.  Be patient.)

By Sunday, November 13th you should be very close, if not back to, your typical sleep times.

4.  Daylight Savings Sleep Adjustments for Children Who Do not Nap

When your child wakes up earlier on Sunday morning, shift their bedtime Sunday evening half an hour to 45 minutes earlier.  Keep it there until they begin waking at their normal pre-daylight savings time, in which you can then adjust bedtime back 30-45 minutes. 

i.e.  Their typical sleep schedule is 7:00am-7:00pm.  On Sunday morning they will wake up at 6:00am.  Sunday evening, have your child in bed between 6:15-6:30pm.  Continue with the 6:15pm-6:30pm bedtime until your child begins waking up closer to 7:00am.  Once they wake around 7:00am, you can adjust bedtime closer to 7:00pm.  Remember, this transition can also take a few days to a week to accomplish.

Continue to focus on receiving great sleep now (maybe catching up a bit from a late Halloween night).  Stick with all your normal times until Sunday morning, after the clocks have changed.  If this idea doesn’t settle well with you and you want to begin changing sleep times before daylight savings, read my previous year blogs regarding how to handle that. 

Happy Sleeping!

Valerie Birch

Valerie Birch

Certified Infant & Child Sleep Consultant at Amazing Little Sleeper
Valerie Birch is a Pediatric Sleep Expert for exhausted families who have tried evvvvverything to get their child to sleep.

Through her informative and supportive blog posts and one-on-one help, she’s here to guide your child into restorative naps and peaceful nights - while making you wonder why you didn’t contact her sooner.

When she’s not consulting?You’ll find her hanging with her 2 children, getting her sweat on at the gym or baking and indulging in warm ooey-googey chocolate-chip cookies….hobbies that balance each other out!

Meet Valerie + prepare yourself for Amazing Sleep ahead…
Valerie Birch

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