Kids and Daylight Saving Time: How to Save Your Sanity
Find out how to adjust your child’s sleep schedule during Daylight Savings Time with this simple sleep guide.
With the Daylight Savings transition fast approaching on November 1st, you may be worried about how your child’s sleep will be affected. Rest assured, there are a couple of options available depending on your child’s sleep temperament.
How to plan for Daylight Saving Time
Sensitive Sleepers vs. Non-sensitive Sleepers
First you need to determine whether your child is a sensitive sleeper or a non-sensitive sleeper.
Sensitive sleepers are children who have a tough time settling back into their typical sleep rhythms if their routines are disturbed. A non-sensitive sleeper is a child who can easily fall back into their typical sleep routine even if the timing is slightly off.
Sleep Option 1: For Sensitive Sleepers
The gradual option outlined below typically works well for infants and toddlers as their awake windows are smaller than that of older children. Move your child over to Daylight Savings Time gradually by doing the following:
- On the Sunday before Daylight Savings Time begins, start moving bedtime and naps back by 15 minutes every couple of days.
- For example, if bedtime is 7:00pm, start by pushing it back to 7:15pm for a couple of nights to ease their internal sleep clock forward.
- Continue to do this until Daylight Savings Time kicks in.
Sleep Option 2: For Non-sensitive Sleepers
This “hands-off” approach works well for preschool and young elementary school kids as they have longer awake windows and it allows them to work through an hour of lost sleep without too many issues. Move your child over to Daylight Savings Time by doing… nothing!
- When your child wakes up on November 3rd, it will be earlier than normal for them as the time has moved back by an hour.
- Go about your day normally and keep your nap and bedtime routines exactly the same while switching to the new Daylight Savings Time.
Adjusting Circadian Rhythms
Circadian rhythms are a cycle of physical, mental, and behavioral changes that your body experiences throughout the day that respond to light and darkness in your environment.
In order to adjust your child’s circadian rhythms (no matter their age or sleep temperament), when they wake up on November 3rd, take them outside into the natural sunlight 30 minutes after they wake. Light is is a big driver of our circadian sleep rhythms and will play a key role in helping them to transition into the new Daylight Savings Time.
More on Sleep…
- Planning vacation with kids? See our guide on how to manage sleep routines when traveling.
- Once you become a parent, you’ll often receive a lot of conflicting advice on where your baby should sleep, and for how long. The most important factor to consider is what’s safe for your baby? Where should your baby sleep? And what are the potential dangers? See our guide to safe sleep for baby.