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Daylight Savings Time

Adjusting Your Child for Daylight Savings Time

Fall Back

Daylight savings time is just around the corner. Here in Saskatchewan, we don’t participate in daylight savings and I’m not complaining! BUT if you are part of the majority of North America who will be turning those clocks back in November you are probably curious about some strategies for how to handle the time change. Children can have a more difficult time adjusting to the time change because they are used to very structured bedtimes so even this one-hour change can impact them! I am going to share three strategies for tackling daylight saving time this fall.

Gradual Shift Strategy

This strategy will take a week to adjust to the time change by gradually shifting the schedule each day. Beginning on November 1st, you will shift the schedule 10 minutes earlier than usual. So that the morning wake-up, nap(s), and bedtime will all occur just 10 minutes earlier than usual.

On November 2nd, you will shift the schedule another 10 minutes earlier than usual. So that the morning wake-up, nap(s), and bedtime will all occur 20 minutes earlier than usual.

Repeat this for the next four days until the morning wake-up, nap(s), and bedtime are all occurring 60 minutes earlier than usual. This will ensure that you are right on schedule for Sunday when the clocks go back.

Split the Difference Strategy

This strategy will take just four days to adjust to the time change and will begin on November 6th, when the clocks go back. For the first three days of the time change, you will shift your child’s schedule 30 minutes earlier. So, if first nap is usually at 9am, move it to 8:30am for three days. Shift all other naps and bedtime 30 minutes earlier as well.

Even though you are moving the schedule 30 minutes earlier, in reality it feels 30 minutes later based on their biological clock.

On the fourth day following the time change (November 9th), shift the schedule to the usual time.

Do Nothing Strategy

In this strategy, you simply wing it! Instead of taking a gradual approach, you will continue following the clock for your schedule as usual on November 6th.

How to Decide on a Strategy for Tackling Daylight Savings Time?

This will depend on your child and you may even find that the right strategy is different for each of your littles.

The “Do Nothing Strategy” would not work well for babies or even younger toddlers who cannot handle as much time awake. Use this strategy if you have a young baby that follows wake windows instead of a clock schedule. It would work well for an older child who handles schedule changes easily.

The “Gradual Shift Strategy” would work well for little ones who are very sensitive to schedule changes. Some children have a difficult time going off schedule so if this is your little one, you’ll want to make the transition as smooth as possible for them so the gradual shift strategy would be my recommendation.

If you have a child that is somewhere in between than the “Split the Difference Strategy” would be a good fit. I would say this is the most ideal option. It’s a relatively quick transition but also offers some protection for avoiding overtiredness.

It’s important to understand that no matter which strategy you choose for tackling daylight savings time, it will take some time. It often takes time for us as adults to adjust to the change, so expect the same for your littles. A common hiccup that comes from fall back is early morning wake-ups.

My best advice for this would be just to give it time. Shifting the biological clock doesn’t happen overnight. So, have a little patience (even though it’s hard) and understand that it may take a few days or a few weeks for your child to fully adjust to the time change.

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