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.
So, what is the best way to help your child handle the end of Daylight Saving Time on November 3rd? Split the difference.
The silver lining to the fall time change is that we “fall back” or gain an hour. And, for all you parents, that means even earlier wake times, especially if your baby, like most, is already an early riser. 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 early.
My recommendation to parents is to 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 4:58am. 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 your child’s nap and bedtime schedule, adjust it in 30-minute increments over three days until you catch up with the time change. For example, if your 2-year-old naps at 12:30pm and goes to bed at 8 pm, move her nap to noon and bedtime to 7:30 pm (this will feel internally like 1 pm and 8:30 pm). On day four, she should be ready to handle nap and bedtime at the normal time. Keep in mind that you still may experience some early wake up times for a week or two as her body clock adjusts.
Children under one-year-old often do better with a transition in 20 minute increments over six days, as children this age can tend to become overtired more quickly.
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 and most new things in life.