As we approach the end of Daylight-Saving Time (DST) this fall, it's time to prepare our little ones for the time change. DST ends in the US on Sunday, November 5th. The clocks are turned back 1 hour, meaning shifting our children’s schedule 1 hour later.
Typically, with the fall time change, parents like you and I worry about early morning wakings. However, the good news is that our children usually take only up to a week to adjust to the new time.
Our goal for the week leading up to the end of DST is to gradually shift our little one’s internal clock to the “new time.” To achieve this, we will start moving bedtime a bit later. You can choose between two options: either a 4-day transition by shifting bedtime forward by 15 minutes each night or a more gradual 6-day transition by moving bedtime forward by 10 minutes each night.
Regardless of your option, you will find that your little one will be back on their regular bedtime schedule by Sunday evening.
To ensure a smooth transition, make similar adjustments to naps and meal times, shifting them by 10–15-minute increments. This approach will help you avoid dealing with a very early riser or a cranky child.
If you find that you haven't had enough time to prepare or if you're dealing with early wake-ups, there's no need to worry. When your little one wakes up too early, assist them in going back to sleep. Keep the room dim or dark, and when it's time for the correct wake-up hour, make it a fun and dramatic experience. Leave the room for a full minute and then re-enter enthusiastically, saying "Good Morning." Open the blinds, turn on the lights, or sing a good morning song to signal the official start of the day.
During this adjustment period, prioritize naps if possible. A well-napped child will adapt more easily to the new schedule. If necessary, consider adding a bonus nap on Sunday to bridge the gap until a later bedtime.
Remember that your little one may take up to a week to adapt to the time change fully. I hope this information is helpful, and I wish you a smooth transition into the new time.