Time Change SLEEP Tips for your Toddler, Preschooler, or Big Kid

Help your toddler, preschooler or big kid adjust to the end of Daylight Saving time change with these Sleep Tips.


Child Sleep and the Fall Back Time Change

The leaves are changing colors, the air is brisk and I have my pumpkin spiced chai tea in hand. What’s just around the corner? The Fall Back Time Change, marking the end of Daylight Savings. The idea of an extra hour of sleep sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? But for many parents, there’s a bit of worry in the mix. Are wondering how this time change disrupt your child’s sleep patterns? Are you bracing for early morning wake-up calls, grumpy little ones, and a less-than-happy household? Worry not! I’ve got some expert sleep tips to help make the end to Daylight Savings time change transition smoother for your child. Circle November 5th, 2023, on your calendar – that’s when the time change happens, at 2:00 am.

How to adjust your child’s sleep for the Daylight Saving Time Change Fall 2023:  SLEEP Tips

  1. Spend time outdoors. Natural light helps our bodies adjust our internal clocks. Playing outside not only exposes a child to natural light which will help adjust their internal clocks it promotes physical activity which can be tiring!
  1. Lighting. Keep your child’s room nice and dark for sleep. Aim to keep the lights low in the morning and brighter at night for a few days after the time changes. Adjusting the light can help reset your child’s sleep clock. Don’t forget to set your child alarm clock to the new time during the time change.
  1. Environment. Promote an ideal sleep environment by keeping the room cool, dark and quiet. This will help ensure the sleep is restorative for all naps and night sleep.
  1. Early bedtimes. Changes in our schedule are easier to navigate when we are well rested. Don’t be afraid to give your little one a few days of an earlier bedtime to help them with this adjustment.
  1. Patience. Be consistent and patient. It will take everyone a few days to adjust to the new schedule if we are consistent with our sleep rules.
Toddler playing in leaves

How to Prepare your Child for the Time Change

To help your toddler, preschooler or child prepare for the time change, start early! You can shift their schedule by 15 minutes starting a few days before the time change. For example, on Thursday morning, adjust their wake up time and routine 15 minutes later. Continue to adjust their schedule by 15 minutes each day so they will be adjusted to the time change. 

You can also adjust their routine by 30 minutes, on Saturday and then by the remaining 30 minutes on Sunday. You can also start this approach on Sunday and conclude your time change adjustment on Monday.

Believe it or not, most well-rested kids can handle adjusting to the new time of the clock on Sunday. With one catch, lean into an earlier bedtime. Offering more sleep helps your child handle the time change adjustment. If you have been putting your child down for sleep at 8pm, aim to start offering a bedtime of 7pm to help with this transition. 

Kids walking in leaves
A group of young kids are outdoors on an autumn day. They are running through a pile of fallen leaves, and throwing the leaves in the air.

What to do it your child wakes earlier 

No one likes early morning wakings! The Fall back time change can cause your child to wake a bit earlier for a few days during their adjustment period. Set their child alarm clock to the new time and remain consistent with following their sleep rules. Continue to put space between screens and sleep to help your child fall asleep easier and sleep until their wake-up time. 

How long it takes to adjust to the time change

Generally, it takes about one day to adjust to every hour of change in time, when you are well-rested. However, transitions are hard and they can take time. Allow your child a bit of grace a few days after the time change, as everyone may be a bit sleepy. 

Don’t forget that parents need sleep, too! Be purposeful in putting down those screens prior to bed and allowing yourself an early bedtime as well. In a few days, everyone should be back on track. 

If your toddler is waking early or your preschooler is waking at 5am consistently, let’s schedule a time to chat about how we can help them get more sleep.  

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