Baby Sleep and Daylight Savings (Fall Back)

The end of daylight savings is getting closer and many parents are wondering what to do to maintain their baby or toddler’s sleep habits, despite the time change. We ‘fall back’ to Standard Time on Sunday, November 7th 2010* at 2a.m. by setting our clock back one hour. That usually means that our children wake up one hour earlier the following morning.

3 Ways to Help Your Baby Adjust to the New Time

By Diana Gonzalez Blanco, Founder, Smooth Parenting

Baby sleep challenges are not uncommon during daylight savings time adjustments. Still, there are some general tips that you can follow to have a smoother transition, regardless on how you decide to adjust your child’s schedule to the new time:

  • Continue your bedtime and naptime routines. The regular and familiar routines you follow when putting your baby to sleep should be maintained.
  • Keep your baby’s nursery dark, so the daylight (and nightlight) changes do not interfere with his/her sleep.
  • Carry on promoting positive sleep associations.
  • Remember that consistency is still key.
  • Change your watch and clocks to the new time before going to bed, November 7th.

In addition to these measures, there are three basic approaches we can follow to help children with the transition:

Gradual ‘Pre- Fall Back Day’ Transition

Starting Thursday, November 4th 2010, move your baby/ toddler bedtime back 15 minutes each night. Your baby’s whole daily schedule moves back those 15 minutes the day after. This way, you will have shifted your baby’s schedule ahead by one hour by the time you have to move your clock back one hour. Therefore, your baby would be going to sleep at his usual time right away, based on the Standard Time right away.

See the chart below for guidance. Note that this chart assumes baby’s current bedtime is 7pm and waking time is 7am.

For an even smoother transition, you can start moving your baby’s bedtime back 10 minutes on Tuesday, November 2nd 2010.

Date Transition Steps Current Time (Daylight Savings Time) New Time(Standard Time)
Thursday, November 4th Move back your baby’s bedtime to 7:15pm 7:15pm 6:15pm
Friday, November 5th Move back your baby’s daily schedule, starting at wake-up time 7:15am 7:15am 6:15am
Move back your baby’s bedtime to 7:30pm 7:30pm 6:30pm
Saturday, November 6th Move back your baby’s daily schedule, starting at wake-up time 7:30am 7:30am 6:30am
Move back your baby’s bedtime to 7:45pm 7:45pm 6:45pm
Sunday, November 7th(Fall Back Night) Move back your baby’s daily schedule, starting at wake-up time 7:45am 7:45am 6:45am
Move back your baby’s bedtime to 8:00pm 8:00pm 7:00pm
Monday, November 8th(Standard Time in Place) Regular waking time 7:00am 8:00am(Doesn’t apply!) 7:00am

Gradual ‘Post- Fall Back Day’ Transition

The day after the daylight savings time ends, Monday November 8th, 2010, your baby will most likely wake up one hour earlier than usual (based on the clock). Starting then you should make sure your baby, toddler’s naptime and bedtime are 45 minutes earlier than his/her regular schedule the first day; 30 minutes earlier the second day; and 15 minutes earlier the third day.

The whole daily schedule adjusts to those changes accordingly. By doing this, your baby would be going to sleep and waking up at his regular times, based on the Standard Time, by Friday November 12th.

See the chart below for guidance. Note that this chart assumes baby’s current bedtime is 7pm and waking time is 7am, with the first nap at 9am and the second one at 12:30pm.

Date Transition Steps Current Time (Daylight Savings Time) New Time(Standard Time)
Monday, November 8th(Standard Time in Place) Your baby will wake up one hour earlier than usual ~ 6:00am 7:00am(Doesn’t apply!) 6:00am
Move up your baby’s first nap time 45 minutes ~ 8:15am (instead on 9:00am) 9:15am 8:15am
Move up your baby’s second nap time 45 minutes ~ 11:45am (instead of 12:30pm) 12:45pm 11:45am
Move up your baby’s bedtime 45 minutes ~ 6:15pm (instead of 7pm) 7:15pm 6:15pm
Tuesday, November 9th Your baby will wake up 45 minutes earlier than usual ~ 6:15am 7:15am(Doesn’t apply!) 6:15am
Move up your baby’s first nap time 30 minutes ~ 8:30am (instead on 9:00am) 9:30am 8:30am
Move up your baby’s second nap time 30 minutes ~ 12:00pm (instead of 12:30pm) 1:00pm 12:00pm
Move up your baby’s bedtime 30 minutes ~ 6:30pm (instead of 7pm) 7:30pm 6:30pm
Wednesday, November 10th Your baby will wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual ~ 6:30am 7:30am(Doesn’t apply!) 6:30am
Move up your baby’s first nap time 15 minutes ~ 8:45am (instead on 9:00am) 9:45am 8:45am
Move up your baby’s second nap time 15 minutes ~ 12:15pm (instead of 12:30pm) 1:15pm 12:15pm
Move up your baby’s bedtime 15 minutes ~ 6:45pm (instead of 7pm) 7:45pm 6:45pm
Thursday, November 11th Your baby will wake up 15 minutes earlier than usual ~ 6:45am 7:45am(Doesn’t apply!) 6:45am
Move up your baby’s first nap time to its usual time (9:00am) 10:00am 9:00am
Move up your baby’s second nap to its usual time (12:30pm) 1:30pm 12:30pm
Move up your baby’s bedtime to its usual time (7pm) 8:00pm 7:00pm
Friday, November 12th Your baby will wake at his usual waking time 8:00am 7:00am

For an even smoother transition, you can adjust your baby’s schedule in increments of 10 minutes.

Immediate Transition

The day after the daylight savings time ends, you follow your baby’s schedule based on Standard Time. Therefore, on Monday November 8th, 2010 you switch your child ‘cold turkey’ to the new time. This option tends to be harder on children and on parents, and would be only advisable for children who are extremely adaptable to changes and new schedules.

Regardless of the approach you decide to take, remember that every child is different and they will adjust differently to changes in their sleep schedule. It takes several days to adjust to the new times, so be prepared for your baby to wake up earlier than usual on occasions, to be crankier than usual during the afternoon, and/or to be sleepier during the first days of the transition.

Be patient, loving and consistent to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

*2010 Daylight Savings ends:

  • Sunday, November 7th at 2 a.m. in the United States and Canada
  • October 31st in Europe, Mexico and Central America

2010 Daylight Savings Starts in most countries of the South Hemisphere, October 3rd

Diana Gonzalez Blanco, B.B.A., M.B.A., is a Certified Youth, Parenting and Family Coach; a Baby and Toddler Sleep Expert; and founder of Smooth Parenting. Smooth Parenting is a baby & toddler sleep training consultancy and parenting coaching firm, that helps families around the world get a good night sleep and a peaceful, smooth and happy family life. Diana has an impressive track record of helping families teach their babies to sleep. Her approach to sleep training and parenting is gentle, progressive, effective, holds the wellbeing of the child first, and follows the guidelines provided by the American Association of Pediatrics.

For more baby sleep and parenting tips, sign up for Smooth Parenting’s FREE newsletter at http://www.SmoothParenting.com; and follow them on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/SmoothParenting.

*Image and article courtesy of Smooth Parenting.*

2 replies
  1. Johnette
    Johnette says:

    I’ve actually been trying to do the transition three weeks in advance, moving the schedule back 15 min each week. I’m on week 2, and while the moving bedtime back is working (they normally go to bed at 6:30pm, so now they’re at 7pm this week), my twins are still waking up generally at the same time (5:30am – 6:30am). So, they’re basically losing out on 1/2 hour of sleep that they used to have. Any suggestions?

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