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Home | Time Change and Babies/Toddlers: How to Help Your Little One Adjust

Time Change and Babies/Toddlers: How to Help Your Little One Adjust

Toddler girl sleeping

Marin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin sleep consultant and mom Sarah Healy.

Greetings parents! I hope this message finds you well and enjoying the gifts that the fall season can bring. As many of you are aware, Daylight Saving Time is going to end on November 1, so I wanted to be sure to give you some tools to help your little one adjust to "falling back."

The following are some helpful tips and are being reprinted from Dr. Angelique Millette creator of the Millette Method. I am one of a handful of master level pediatric sleep consultants in the US trained in the Millette Method--a method in sleep training that incorporates the multiple facets that impact sleep and works from a researched based background.

With the time change approaching, I have received many emails and phone calls from parents asking how they can help their babies and toddlers transition to the new time without upsetting their child’s sleep.

Starting Sunday November 1, clocks will be set back one hour for the end of daylight savings time. Often called “fall back,” we can count on sunset starting at approximately 5 pm and sunrise starting at approximately 6 am.

You can help your baby/toddler by starting to adjust their internal clocks/circadian rhythms ahead of the time change. Starting Tuesday night, October 27, begin putting your child down 10 minutes later for bed. You can do this by comforting, singing or book reading, and/or starting the bedtime ritual/routine 10 minutes later. Do this for the rest of the week, and when the time change does happen, your child will have slowly adjusted to the new time.

If your baby or toddler’s bedtime is 7 pm, it will look like this:

  • Tuesday, 7:10 pm bedtime
  • Wednesday: 7:20 pm bedtime
  • Thursday: 7:30 pm bedtime
  • Friday: 7:40 pm bedtime
  • Saturday: 7:50 pm bedtime
  • Sunday: 7 pm bedtime (new time—old time will be 8 pm)

You may notice that your child may start yawning at 5 or 6 pm. Alternatively, you may notice that your child is waking up earlier, at 6 am or earlier. You can take the time to darken up your little one’s room with darkening drapes, or shades, to help them to sleep a little later.

You can also take this time to make some schedule/routine adjustments. For example if your baby is a “night owl,” you may decide to keep their bedtime the same without using the 10-minute times adjustment. If your baby goes to bed at 9 pm, their new bedtime post-time change will be 8 pm. Be sure to darken your baby’s room to reduce morning light.

It takes about a week for a baby/toddler to adjust to the new time. Your little one may be a bit cranky, or seem more tired than usual. Stick to your routine, and keep the daytime naps the same time.

Upcoming classes include:

  • All About Naps October 26, 10–11 am
  • Newborn Sleep 0–4 months October 28, 10–11 am
  • Baby Sleep 5–12 months October 28, 1:15–2:15 pm

You can find out more about her services and classes at www.sarahhealysleep.com.

Sarah is a mother of two with a masters in psychology and more than twenty years in the birth and childhood development field. Trained as a sleep consultant by Dr. Angelique Millette, Sarah’s passion is in helping parents realize their best parenting selves through infant sleep training, parent coaching and judgement-free teaching. Her approach is nurturing, evidence-based, and geared towards helping babies sleep and parents feel renewed. Sarah offers 1:1 consultations and tailored programs for your family’s unique dynamic.

Photo: iStock