Parent’s Survival Guide to Help Your Toddler Adjust to Daylight Savings Time
It’s that time of year again – the time of year all parents hate. Especially if you’re sleep training a toddler.
On Sunday, November 5th, Daylight Savings Time ends and the clock “falls back,” shoving an extra hour into our day.
Whether you’re a parent or a child, no one handles the extra hour well. Kids’ bodies are sensitive, and absorbing that extra hour can throw off the schedule of even the best sleeper.
That’s why I’m going to teach you a step-by-step method to survive the time change with everyone’s sleep intact.
>>Watch this blog on my Awesome Little Sleepers YouTube channel! 👇
Sleep training your toddler with less stress and more ease
The best thing you can do to survive the time change is make sure your child has great sleep habits all year long. Kids who are already used to sleeping well can handle disruptions more easily - like skipping a nap, staying up late, and getting through the seasonal time changes.
Great sleep habits for kids under 6 years old means sleeping 10-12 hours through the night without waking up.
If you need help figuring out how to make that your reality, you should join my next toddler sleep masterclass. It’s free, all you need to do is reserve your spot. You can do that at ToddlerSleepMasterclass.com.
Your secret weapon: gradual sleep adjustment
Even if you don’t have a perfect sleeper quite yet, you can still survive the time change by planning ahead and using a gradual adjustment strategy.
We already know that when DST ends on November 5th, we get an extra hour added onto our day.
By gradually adjusting your child’s internal clock in the days leading up to the time change, it helps them absorb that extra hour more gently and less abruptly.
Think about it this way: if your child normally goes to bed at 7pm, after the time changes, 7pm becomes the old 8pm. Meaning, if you rely only on the clock and stick to the same bedtime, it’s the same effect as putting your kid to bed an hour later.
Some parents do this and just push through. But if you’ve tried putting your sleep training toddler to bed an hour later than normal, you know that doesn’t usually go well! Your kid will struggle to stay awake through dinner, then won’t be able to fall asleep at bedtime.
To prevent this, what you'll do in the days leading up to the time change is gradually move your child’s bedtime LATER towards 8pm so the extra hour isn’t disregulating them all at once.
And the best part about this gradual adjustment strategy is that it applies to both nap AND bedtime.
Gradual adjustment strategies by age
I’ve got two different strategies based on age. The first is for kids under 3 years old, and the second is for kids over 3. If you’re a visual learner like I am, you can download my free visual guide for this. Here’s the link to grab it: AwesomeLittleSleepers.com/fallback
If your child is under 3 years old or has sensitive sleep needs - meaning they’re a real creature of habit and thrive with their specific bedtime - then start this process on the Wednesday before the time changes.
On Wednesday, move bedtime 15 minutes later. So, if normal bedtime is 7pm, move it to 7:15pm.
On Thursday, move it another 15 minutes later to 7:30.
On Friday, move it to 7:45.
On Saturday, move it to 8pm.
Once Sunday hits and the time has changed, you’ll go back to your normal 7pm bedtime – which is the same time as 8pm was on Saturday!
If your child is over 3 years old and already a pretty great sleeper, they may be able to handle some bigger jumps in time.
You can start on the Friday before the time changes and move their sleep time by 30 minutes.
So, if bedtime is 7pm, on Friday, move it to 7:30.
On Saturday, move it to 8pm.
Then on Sunday, go back to 7pm - which will feel in your child’s body like 8pm the prior night.
If this whole time change concept makes your head spin, it may be easier to look at the visual guide, so be sure to check out the free download to help it make sense.
The fall time change feels weird to all of us. So, once the time changes, stick with the new time on the clock for bedtime and nap time.
Just remember that it’s normal for it to take a few days for everyone’s circadian rhythms to adjust.
Join me in my next free toddler sleep masterclass to learn more about setting up a plan to get your child sleeping through the night alone in their own room with no wake ups. Save your spot at: