Daylight savings time is here again! We often don't think of it as a big deal, after all, it's only an hour. That hour change in our sleep routines, however, has a much larger impact than we realize. There is an 8% increase in the number of traffic accidents on the Monday after the time change. That is the affect it has on adults so you can just imagine what it does to our little ones who rely on those routines and structure. If that one hour change isn't handled with careful planning, it may lead to sleep regressions in children who have been previously sleeping very well.
For “Fall Back”: I recommend not making any changes until the next day. This will avoid any anxieties you might experience when you look at the clock in the morning and realize your child is up an hour earlier than usual. You can get up at your usual time and and follow your usual routine and then make your way around the house changing the clocks.
You can gradually make the changes to your child's schedule so it won't be so disruptive or cause any major regressions. So, if your child usually takes a morning nap at 9:30, you will change it to 9:00 am for 3 days after the time change. Your child may seem much more tired at first but will adjust. Do the same for the afternoon nap.
If your child's bedtime is usually 7:00, I recommend putting that child to bed at 6:30 for 3 days following the time change. (This will FEEL like 7:30 to your child.) And it will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this. It takes everybody’s body roughly one week to adjust any kind of change in sleeping habits.
Your child will likely wake up an hour early right after the time change. Do not rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up, because you do not want to send a message that getting up at 6 a.m. is okay now. So if she normally wakes at 7:00am, but is now up at 6:00, you will wait till ten after on the first day, and then twenty after the next, then 6:30 the next day and, by the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual hour. On the 4th night, just get in line with the new time. So your baby is back to going to bed when the clock says 7:00 pm, and adjust naps to the correct time on day 4 as well.
Give it time and know that your child will eventually get back on schedule within a week, possibly two.
Sleeping Well Tonight Means a Healthy Tomorrow
Certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Consultant