How to Get Your Kids to Sleep with the Tricky Time Changes of Daylight Savings

It is that time of year again in many parts of the country. Here in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the leaves are changing, the temperatures have dropped, and the next big concern in your child’s sleep schedule is approaching fast – that dreaded end of Daylight Savings time!

Our clocks will “fall back” in November, and we will gain an hour of time which wreaks havoc in many households. Families find early morning wake-ups and struggle with bedtime resistance from overtired kiddos. What can you do to prepare?

Start early – Give yourself a few days to make the transition gradually.

Shift your child’s bedtime forward by adding 10-15 minutes every day until you reach your desired time. But don’t forget about that morning wake up! Continue to push it 10-15 minutes later until it has been transitioned too.

For example, if your child has a 7 pm bedtime and a 7 am morning wake up:

  • Day One: Move bedtime from 7 pm to 7:15 pm and push morning wake up until 7:15 am
  • Day Two: Move bedtime forward to 7:30 pm and push the morning wake up ahead to 7:30 am
  • Day Three: Move bedtime to 7:45 pm and wake up to 7:45 am
  • Day Four: Bedtime will be at 8 pm and wake up at 8 am

Then once your clocks fall back on November 4th, 2018, your child will be well prepared and back on a 7 am/7 pm schedule. Younger children rely more on their internal body clocks, that biological circadian rhythm, rather than watching what the clock says on the wall. By adjusting gradually over a few days and sticking to your scheduled timings rigorously for a week, your little one will transition nicely.

For those children, who adapt to change very quickly, no gradual transition may be needed. You can change your clocks, consistently follow your schedule, and be patient for a few days as a new rhythm is formed.

This is also the perfect time for some families to take advantage of and adjust their schedule if your little one is going to bed later than you would like. Right now no change is needed before the clocks move and after November 4th you will have successfully moved bedtime earlier. What a bonus!

As a helpful reminder with all your time change transitions, be consistent and patient – within a week your family will be back on track. When you have questions come up, reach out to us, as we would love to help you.