Toddler Parent's Time Change Survival Guide
The best thing you can do to survive the time change during the Fall & Spring is make sure your child has great sleep habits all year long.
Great sleep habits for kids under six years old means falling asleep before 8 p.m. and sleeping 10-12 hours through the night by themselves without waking up.
If you need help figuring out how to make that your reality, you should join my next free toddler sleep masterclass. You just need to reserve your spot by clicking the link.
And keep reading for my action plan help your kiddo gradually adjust to the time change.
>>Watch this blog on my Awesome Little Sleepers YouTube channel! 👇
Bedtime tips and tricks for toddlers
Now, even if you don’t have sleep perfected quite yet, you can still survive the time change by planning ahead and using a gradual adjustment strategy.
By gradually adjusting your child’s internal clock in the days leading up to the time change, it helps them absorb that extra hour without turning into overtired, sleep-resisting zombies.
Here’s an example:
If your child normally goes to bed at 7 p.m., after the time changes, 7 p.m. will be the old 8pm. So, if you only rely on the clock and stick to the same bedtime, it’s like putting your kid to bed an hour later. Some people do this and just push through...
But if you’ve tried putting your kid to bed an hour later than normal, you know that doesn’t go well.
Instead, gradually move your child’s bedtime later towards 8 p.m., so the extra hour isn’t shoved into their day all at once. The great thing about the gradual adjustment strategy is that it applies to both naps and bedtime.
Day-by-day bedtime outline for the week of the time change
Under three or a sensitive sleeper
If your child is under three or has sensitive sleep needs - meaning they’re a creature of habit and thrive with their specific bedtime - then I want you to start this process on Wednesday before the time changes.
Wednesday: If normal bedtime is 7 p.m., move it to 7:15 p.m.
Thursday: Move bedtime another 15 minutes later to 7:30 p.m.
Friday: Move bedtime to 7:45 p.m.
Saturday: Move bedtime to 8 p.m.
Once Sunday arrives and the time has changed, go back to your normal 7 p.m. bedtime, which will feel in your child’s body like 8 p.m. the prior night.
Over three and a solid sleeper
If your child is over three and already a solid sleeper, they may be able to handle bigger jumps in time. If that’s the case, or you’ve waited to get started with the gradual adjustment strategy, you can start on Friday by moving bedtime by 30 minutes.
Friday: If normal bedtime is 7 p.m., move it to 7:30 pm.m
Saturday: Move bedtime to 8 p.m.
Sunday: Back to 7 p.m.
Grab your free guide to surviving the time change
If the whole time change concept makes your head spin, never fear. I created a free download to show you exactly how to adjust your child’s schedule in the days leading up to the time change on November 6, 2022. You can check it out here.
The fall time change feels weird to all of us - even those who are great sleepers. Once the time changes, just stick with the clock for bedtime and nap time. And keep in mind that it’s normal for it to take a few days for everyone’s circadian rhythms to adjust.