Today, we have a special guest, Jessica, owner and sleep coach with My Dreamy Sleeper sharing a blog post she wrote on Falling Back and Sleep. So if you’re unsure on how to go about the upcoming time change (it’s on Sunday, November 5th, 2023!), then keep reading because Jessica has some amazing tips and tricks for the fall back time change with your baby!
It’s that time again, when daylight saving time will end, and we will have to turn our clocks back an hour and wonder “Why are we still doing this?”.
Falling back is the hard one. Early wakes become even earlier, and let’s face it, early wakes can already be the bane of parents’ existence. For most children, fixing an early wake is more difficult then fixing a child who sleeps too late. Some of you may have your work cut out for you!
So here we are. Trying not to panic that our child’s sleep is going to be majorly messed up. Actually, I am a bit more worried about myself. My children adjust fine – usually within a week – but it takes me a good month to fully adjust. And that’s the thing – we are all so different in how we adjust to these time changes.
How to Fall Back
There are 4 ways to tackle this time change. Pick the one that suits you and your family best!
Option 1: Start Early (If you are seriously worried about early wakes, I highly recommend this option.)
If you’d like to get a head start on falling back, you should start 4 weeks out. Each week move your child’s bedtime later by 15 minutes. For example, if they currently have a 7:00 pm bedtime, week 1 move it to 7:15, week 2 move it to 7:30, week 3 to 7:45, and week 4 (the week of the time change) move it to 8:00 pm. Once the clocks switch over your child will be going down at 7:00 pm on the clock again, and their body will hopefully already have adjusted. Take the same approach with naps.
If you start 2 weeks out, give yourself half a week at each time instead of a full week.
Option 2: Wait Until the Day is Upon Us – Split the Difference
On Saturday night, go to bed like normal and wake up Sunday morning like normal. Any clocks that have not changed over, like the microwave, go ahead and change them. If your child still naps, just do a normal day of naps.
Then on Sunday at bedtime, split the difference by 30 minutes. For example, if your child has a 7:00 pm bedtime, Sunday night put them to bed at 6:30 pm. It will be 30 minutes earlier on the clock, but 30 minutes later for their body. Then on Monday if they nap, do the same thing for naptime. If they usually go down at 12:30 pm, then put them down at 12:00 pm.
Do this for 3 nights and 3 days. Then on the 4th night (Wednesday), move the bedtime to 7:00 pm. The following morning start holding them to a 6:00 am (or later) wake up, and nap time moves to 12:30 as well.
If you feel like your child needs slightly longer to adjust, split the difference for 5 days or even a week before adjusting to 7:00 pm.
Option 3: Eff it. I’m Just Jumping In.
This is often the approach I take. It’s also the advice I give parents if they are traveling and changing time zones. Just jump right into it! You will, however, experience some early mornings. That’s almost guaranteed.
On Saturday night, do nothing. Go to bed like normal. On Sunday at bedtime, put your child to bed at their normal time. Using the 7:00 pm bedtime example again – the clock will say 7:00 pm but their body will feel like it’s 8:00 pm so don’t be surprised if they are exhausted!
Option 4: Don’t Do Anything at All (But Only If You Didn’t Do Anything For Spring Forward)
If at Spring Forward time you just stayed as is, then just stay as is again. The bedtimes that became 8:00 pm instead of 7:00 when you sprung forward, will fall back to 7:00 pm again this time around.
Other Seasonal Time Change Tips
For babies who are newborn to 7 months or if your child is not on a predictable schedule yet, this time change is not as bad, although you may still experience some earlier mornings. Just roll into the new time.
Because Falling Back causes earlier mornings in the beginning, the most important thing to keep in mind if you don’t want your child to continue waking early is to make sure their room is DARK DARK DARK. I cannot stress this enough. Put up blackout curtains or blinds. Even try to keep out the light that comes in around the perimeter of the window. If your child tends to be more sensitive to light, you’ll want to really make this a priority.
If you need help adjusting to this time change or need help with your child’s sleep schedule in general, schedule a FREE Discovery Call so we can chat.
Thanks so much to Jessica for sharing her insights on the fall back time change with your baby! Go and follow her over at My Dreamy Sleeper on Instagram!
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