Daylight Saving Baby & Toddler Sleep Tips for “Falling Back”

How to adjust baby's schedule after daylight savings ends

Autumn is here! And with it comes pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin patch photos and dressing babies up in adorable Halloween costumes. With anticipation of the approaching holidays, we look forward to family get-togethers, a bit of indulgence and passing on holiday traditions to our kids.

Maybe this will be your baby’s first holiday season, and you’re looking forward to the memories you’ll be making. All in all, it’s an exciting time, right? Except for this one pesky event you may be dreading… the clocks “falling back.” And the end of Daylight Savings ruining your baby or toddler’s sleep!

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If You’re Looking For Tips About Springing Forward & Daylight Savings Beginning, Go Here ->

 

If you’ve worked hard to get your baby sleeping well, you may be nervous about how this time change will affect your baby’s sleep. That’s understandable.

If your baby is already waking up early, like 6 am, after the clocks change he’ll start waking at 5 am (scary!) But please… try not to stress too much about it. With the tips and tweaks below (along with a little patience) you’ll get through the end of Daylight Savings without too much stress.

 

Daylight Saving Time Baby & Toddler Sleep Tips:
Pick 1 Option Below

 

You can watch Jilly explain your options in this video

 

Option A: Begin early

 

This is ideal if you’re a Planner Mom who likes to get things done in advance, or your child is in daycare and has to wake up at a certain time. You’ll push naps & bedtime later by 15 minutes every few days. 

Start the week before Daylight Saving ends.

Let’s say your child normally sleeps 7 pm -7 am and naps at 10 am and 2 pm.

Sunday & Monday: push naps to 10:15 am & 2:15 pm Bedtime 7:15 pm.

Tuesday & Wednesday: push naps to 10:30 am & 2:30 pm. Bedtime 7:30 pm.

Thursday & Friday: push naps to 10:45 am & 2:45 pm. Bedtime 7:45 pm.

Saturday (night of DST ending): push naps to 11 am & 3 pm.  Bedtime 8 pm.

*Pushing your child’s morning wake-up time later by 15 minutes will help this transition. 

Once your child wakes on Sunday (and the clocks have changed) he’ll be back to his old schedule: Naps at 10 am & 2 pm and Bedtime 7 pm.

*Important- see 2 Tips below

 

Option B: Play Catch Up

 

If you’re like me, and find it easier to play catch up, this option is for you. Also works well for stay-at-home or work-at-home parents with flexibility. You’ll push naps & bedtime later by 15 minutes every few days. 

Start on Sunday, the first day of the clocks “falling back.”

Lets say your child normally sleeps 7 pm -7 am and naps at 10 am and 2 pm.

Sunday & Monday: (clocks have changed already) naps at 9:15 am & 1:15 pm. Bedtime 6:15 pm.

Tuesday & Wednesday: Wake-up time 6:15 am. Naps at 9:30 am & 1:30 pm. Bedtime 6:30 pm.

Thursday & Friday: Wake-up time 6:30 am. Naps at 9:45 am & 1:45 pm. Bedtime 6:45 pm.

Saturday & on: Wake-up time 7 am. Naps at 10 am & 2 pm. Bedtime 7 pm. Voila!

*Important- see 2 Tips below

 

Option C: Do Nothing

 

This option works for adaptable babies and toddlers and for parents looking for a different pattern for the Winter.

Some parents happily adapt to a 6 pm – 6 am nighttime sleep pattern for the Winter because it gets dark earlier in the evening anyway. There’s no “right answer” for everyone. It’s more about choosing what works best for your family’s schedule.

Also, if your child is pretty adaptable he may naturally transition his sleep schedule after the time change. If you were already in a 6 pm – 6 am nighttime sleep pattern, though, you may not want to get into a 5 pm – 5 am pattern. Yikes… I wouldn’t either. Give it one week and if he hasn’t adapted, try the tips above. You’ll get there.

*Important- see 2 Tips below

How to stop baby waking at 5 am during Daylight Savings

 

2 Essential Tips for Making This Work

 

Although the above steps may seem easy enough, it’s important to know that what you’re actually doing is adjusting your baby’s body clock or “circadian rhythm.”And depending on how adaptable your baby or toddler is, this may not happen so easily.

The use of light and darkness is very effective in (re)setting the body clock. In fact, light seems to play the largest role in setting our circadian rhythm. When our eyes sense light, they send a signal to our brain which makes us alert.

Conversely, when our eyes sense darkness, they send a signal to our brain and the hormone melatonin is released. Darkness and melatonin production make us sleepy.

In addition to slowly tweaking your baby’s sleep times, you ALSO need to use light and darkness to help your baby adapt to his new sleep schedule.

 

Tip #1: Keep your baby’s bedroom pitch black in the mornings to encourage him to wake later. So cover the bedroom windows with trash bags (chic… I know) or make an investment you’ll never regret: blackout curtains.

If your baby wakes earlier than you like during this time change, try your hardest to get him back to sleep. Keep him in his dark bedroom and delay breakfast until it’s time to start the day.

 

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Black out Curtains

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Tip #2: As you slowly push your baby’s bedtime later, make use of bright lighting. Normally, I recommend dimming the house lights during dinner, bath and bedtime routine because this sets the scene for relaxation and sleep. But, during this transition you’ll need to keep the house lights on and bright in the evening. This helps your baby adjust to bedtime being 15 minutes later every few nights. Once you start your bedtime routine in baby’s bedroom, dim the lights to signal to his brain that it’s time to relax for sleep.

 

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