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Tackling Daylight Saving Time: “Fall Back”

Daylight Savings Time – otherwise known as “Fall Back” – is quickly approaching. Pre-kids, this was the oh-so-coveted time when you’d get an extra hour of sleep. With kids, it can be more anxiety-provoking since you might worry about your little one’s sleep being thrown off. But we’ve got a few approaches that make the time change a lot easier!

Tackling Daylight Saving Time: “Fall Back”

Daylight Saving Time – otherwise known as “Fall Back” – is quickly approaching. What does this mean? After the clock falls back one hour on Sunday, November 7, 2021, it’ll be lighter earlier in the morning and darker earlier in the evening.

Pre-kids, this was the oh-so-coveted time when you’d get an extra hour of sleep (because 7am becomes 6am). With kids, it can be more anxiety-provoking since you might worry about your little one’s sleep being thrown off. But we’ve got a few approaches that make the time change a lot easier! Pick approach #1 or #2 (or some version in between) and then roll with it!

Approach #1: The Gradual Shift

Starting a week or so before Daylight Savings Time, shift your baby or child’s sleep schedule 5-15 minutes later each day until Daylight Savings on the 7th. This means waking up 5-15 minutes later, napping 5-15 minutes later, and making bedtime 5-15 minutes later. Each day, push your schedule back another 5-15 minutes.  

By Sunday night, bedtime will be closer to the new normal bedtime. How do you decide whether to start with 5 minutes or 15 minutes? It just depends on your child and how adaptable to sleep schedule changes they tend to be. 

Here’s an example schedule:

Current ScheduleDay 1Day 2
Wake up7:00AM7:15AM7:30AM
Nap #19:00AM9:15AM9:30AM
Nap #22:00PM2:15PM2:30PM
Bedtime7:00PM7:15PM7:30PM

Approach #2: Do Nothing

Yep, that’s right, you can also do nothing! Just put your child to bed one hour later on Monday night when the clock says 7pm but it feels like 8pm. Many kids can adjust just fine when Daylight Saving hits, and at worst, they’re a little groggy for a couple of days.

One word of caution: this doesn’t work for every child, and it is usually more successful for toddlers and older kids, rather than babies. 

If you find your kid is naturally going to bed a little later or waking up a little later right now in the days leading up to Daylight savings, don’t intervene. Just roll with it and consider yourself lucky!

And remember, no matter how Daylight Saving Time affects your little ones sleep, it’s a phase and with time will normalize out.

Want some newborn sleep tips? Check out our episode Getting Your Newborn to Sleep with Dr. Harvey Karp and article An Easy Schedule for your Newborn’s First Four Weeks.