Daylight Saving Time - Let's Fall Back One Hour!

Updated: a day ago

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be like Arizona and Hawaii and not change our clocks twice a year? If you're the parent of a baby or small child, you know very well what I mean. It’s not so simple to get a two year old to bed an hour earlier, or keep a 9-month old awake an extra hour to get back on schedule.

In the United States, Daylight Saving Time ends the 1st Sunday in November. We set our clocks back one hour so we “gain” an hour.

While we technically gain an hour, our babies will now wake up at a ridiculously early time! It also means that it will get lighter earlier in the morning - so this is a great reminder to double check your black out curtains as that early morning sun creeping in is a surefire way to wake your baby even earlier.


So, what is the best way to help your child handle the end of Daylight Saving Time each fall? It's really quite simple - gradually adjust your child's bedtime and naptimes based on their age and wake tolerance.


My recommendation to parents is to leave the manually adjusted clocks alone when you wake up the Sunday morning of the time change. It can be a bit psychologically jarring to get your child out of bed and realize that it’s technically 5:15am. So, just get up as you normally would, drink some coffee and then go about changing your clocks. You’ll feel a lot better this way, trust me!


For every time change, parents have a few options:

Do nothing and let it naturally play out;

Begin the transition 4 to 7 days prior to the actual time change;

Begin the transition on the day of the time change.

If your child is in daycare with a set schedule, it’s probably best to begin the transition before the time change. If you’re a stay at home parent, then do whatever feels best.

Here are some guidelines based on the age of your baby and when you start making the adjustment:

Schedule Adjustment BEFORE the Time Change:

Babies 8 months and younger:

Make this transition in 15-minute increments, putting baby down later by 15-minutes every other day for six days until the morning of the time change. By day seven, your child in theory will be on the same schedule as the new time, so when the clock falls back, you won’t have to do a thing!

Example Pre-Daylight Saving Time Schedule:

Awake for the Day: 7am Nap #1: 9am

Nap #2: 12:30pm Catnap: 4:30pm

Bedtime: 7pm

Adjust your baby's schedule in 15-minute increments every other day: Out of the Crib: 7:15am/7:30am/7:45am Nap #1: 9:15am/9:30am/9:45am Nap #2: 12:45pm/1pm/1:15pm

Cat Nap: 4:45pm/5pm/5:15pm

Bedtime: 7:15pm/7:30pm/7:45pm

Babies 9 months and older: Older babies and toddlers can typically handle the adjustment in 20-30 minute increments over four to five days or so. Use your discretion based on your baby’s temperament and sleep sensitivity.

Example Pre- Daylight Saving Schedule Awake: 7am Nap #1: 10 am

Nap #2: 2:30pm

Bedtime: 7pm

Adjust your schedule in 20-30 minute increments over four to five days preceding the time change.

Out of the Crib: 7:20am/7:40am/8am

Nap #1: 10:20am/10:40am/11am Nap #2: 2:50pm/3:10pm/3:30pm

Bedtime: 7:20pm/7:40pm/8pm

Schedule Adjustment AFTER the Time Change:

Babies 8 months and younger:

Make this transition in 15-minute increments every other day for six days. If your baby's wake time is catching up more quickly, you can expedite the process to meet your baby's progress.

Example Pre-Daylight Saving Time Schedule:

Awake for the Day: 7am Nap #1: 9am

Nap #2: 12:30pm Catnap: 4:30pm

Bedtime: 7pm

Adjust your baby's schedule starting the morning of the time change. Remember, for the first couple days, the times below will feel to your child an hour later than what the time really is.

Out of the Crib: 6:15 am / 6:30am / 6:45am / 7am Nap #1: 8:15am / 8:30am / 8:45 am / 9am Nap #2: 11:45am/12pm/12:15pm/12:30pm

Cat Nap: 3:45pm/4pm/4:15pm/4:30pm

Bedtime: 6:15pm / 6:30pm / 6:45pm/ 7pm

Leave the manually adjusted clocks alone when you wake up Sunday morning. It can be a bit psychologically jarring to go downstairs with your child and realize that it’s technically 5:10 am.

Babies 9 months and older: Older babies and toddlers can typically handle the adjustment in 20-30 minute increments over four to five days or so. Use your discretion based on your baby’s temperament and sleep sensitivity. Remember, for the first couple days, the times below will feel to your child an hour later than what the time really is.

Example Pre- Daylight Saving Schedule: Awake: 7am Nap #1: 10am

Nap #2: 3pm

Bedtime: 7pm

Adjust your schedule in 20-30 minute increments starting the day of the time change and thereafter until your baby catches up to the "new" time:


Out of the Crib: 6:20am/6:40am/7am

Nap #1: 9:20am/9:40am/10am Nap #2: 2:20pm/2:40pm/3pm

Bedtime: 6:20pm/6:40pm/7pm

Most importantly, you will want to ensure that your child’s bedtime routine stays the same. Consistency and repetition in daily routine are truly what will help your child cope with the time change, as well as most new things in life.


As you stretch your baby's wake windows, keep in mind the important of outdoor time and SUNSHINE to keep your little one awake longer.


Finally, be patient! This transition can take a good 10-14 days for your baby to get the hang of it. And, once you feel good about things, in six months it will time to spring forward again! : )

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