I love this time of year. Changing leaves, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and gaining an hour of sleep when the clocks turn back thanks to daylight saving time.
That changing of the clocks is different when you have kids though, isn’t it? As much as I wish my boys would just sleep in an extra hour, I think it’s safe to say they’ll go for option two, a.k.a. getting up when the clock reads 6:00 a.m. instead of their usual 7:00 a.m.
I want my kids to adjust to the new time as quickly and easily as possible so they go back to their usual wake time. If you want the same thing, keep reading to find out how to help your kids adjust to the change.
First things first: Move towards the new time gradually.
The best advice I can give is to adjust your child’s schedule gradually, over 4 days. For the “fall back” time change, that means shifting their entire day 15 minutes later on day 1, another 15 minutes later on day 2, 15 minutes later again on day 3, and finally the last 15 minutes on day 4. After 4 days you will have moved their timing an hour later so that it’s in sync with the new time.
For example, if your son or daughter usually wakes up at 7:00 a.m., on day 1 you will get them out of bed at 7:15 a.m., feed them their meals 15 minutes later than usual, put them down for their nap(s) 15 minutes later, and put them to bed that night 15 minutes later. The next day, you would get them up at 7:30 a.m. and so on.
At the end of these 4 days, you will have shifted their schedule by 1 hour, in 15-minute increments.
You can begin doing this 4 days before the clocks change. You can also begin the day the clocks change and continue for 4 days after the daylight saving change, or you can begin 2 days before and finish 2 days afterward …whatever works for you.
If you have a child in daycare or school and don’t have the luxury of 4 days at home to shift their schedule, just do the best you can. You can shift their timing by 20 minutes on Saturday, another 20 minutes on Sunday, and then the last 20 minutes will naturally happen on Monday when they’re back to daycare or school.
Keep at it and things will go back to normal.
You may find this adjustment throws your child off slightly but, don’t worry, just remain consistent with your timing and responses and they will become accustomed to the new schedule very quickly.