This Sunday, Nov. 6, we turn back our clocks one hour, marking the end of daylight saving time. While that extra hour of sleep may seem nice, it could throw off your child’s sleep schedule. The end of daylight saving time causes most children to wake earlier in the days following the time change, which can lead to disrupted naptime and bedtime, resulting in overtired and cranky kids.
Preparation is the key to minimize the impact of the end of daylight saving on your child’s sleep patterns. It’s a good idea to begin to shift your child’s schedule in the week leading up to the time change.
About 4 days before the time change, keep your child up 15 minutes later at bedtime and let them sleep in 15 minutes later in the morning. If your child is napping, delay the nap by 15 minutes. Adjust these times each day until the end of daylight saving that weekend. Move the bedtime routine out later as well to accommodate the new bedtime every night.
If your child wakes too early, encourage them to go back to sleep. Some parents put a clock beside their child’s bed and explain what time it has to be before they can get up for the day. If you have a toddler or a young child, using a sleep clock such as the Good Nite Lite can also be helpful.
Be patient if you have a tired and grumpy child on your hands in the days after the time change. It generally takes about a week after the clocks have switched to adjust to the new sleeping pattern.
Karen Johnson is a certified nurse practitioner in the Children’s Sleep Center.