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Fall Back without Falling Apart

The end of daylight saving time is coming up on November 3, 2019 at 2:00 am. For most of us, this signals the true start of winter as the evening sunlight begins to fade earlier and earlier each night. The good news? With our “fall back” coming up, we will all gain an extra hour of sleep.

Even with that extra hour, as Sleeper Teachers, we aren’t huge fans of the turning on and turning off of daylight saving time. The original purpose of changing the clocks to allow for better use of daylight hours for field work + farming is becoming mostly obsolete because of modern-day technology. Plus, this one hour change, can have a pretty significant impact on the sleep patterns of our families!

For this reason, it is not surprising that we’ve already gotten questions from current and past clients about how to handle fall back with littles. Let’s cut to the chase and share our top tips!

BEFORE Sunday… Make a proactive + gradual change!

If you want to be proactive OR you have a chronic early riser, you will be better off to make the change BEFORE Sunday. The timing will depend on how many days ahead of time you want to start, but essentially, you will push nap time and bedtime a bit later each day so that you are one full hour later by Saturday night. Then, magically on Sunday, you’ll be back on track. TADA!

If you want to start on Wednesday, October 30th:

If you want to start on Thursday, October 31st:

Note: THIS IS WHERE OUR KIDDOS WILL BE STARTING (Thursday night) SINCE WE WILL BE OUT LATER FOR HALLOWEEN, ANYWAYS!

If you want to start on Friday, November 1st:

There isn’t a great way to start with the change on Saturday, soooooo if you are reading this Saturday (November 2nd) or later, go ahead and make the changes after you change the clocks to fall back!

AFTER Sunday… Split the difference!

If you aren’t up for making changes before you change the clocks, that’s fine! Waiting until Sunday will be totally do-able. For this, we recommend leaving the clocks alone on Sunday morning so it’s not as big of a deal to be getting up “earlier” than normal.

Go ahead and get up at your usual time. Start the day, and then wait a bit before looking at your phone or changing the clock on the microwave/oven. It will feel much better this way! Obviously, our phones and other devices will change automatically, but unless you have a place to be early Sunday morning, just leave those bad boys on the charger and wait until later to take a peek.

So, after you’ve had a bit of breakfast, a nice warm cup of coffee and maybe even a Sunday morning dance party in your kitchen, go ahead and move your clocks back and allow yourself to look at any devices that have automatically changed on their own. Now, it will be exciting that it’s only 8:00 and you’ve already had a great start to your day! #winning

Nap and bedtime: Day 1-3

Let’s address the change in schedule for your little one. For the first 3 days of the change, we are splitting the difference here by asking them to adjust their schedule by 30 minutes rather than the full hour.

If your babe usually takes a morning nap around 9:30 adjust this to 9:00 for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. It will be a bit of a push (because it will feel like 10:00), but not so much that it will cause much damage to her schedule.

Use this same strategy for the afternoon nap… If she normally naps at 2:00, her nap on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday should start at 1:30.

We will do the same thing in the evening. For bedtime, if bed is typically at 7:00 put your little to bed at 6:30 for the first three days following the time change, just as we did with naps.

This same bedtime tip applies for children who are no longer napping and adults, too. Just move bedtime 30 minutes earlier for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to allow for a more gradual adjustment period.

The “new” normal… Day 4 and beyond

Please note that for all of these changes, the nap times and bedtimes will FEEL later for your kiddos (since we moved our clocks back). It takes roughly one week for our bodies to adjust to any kind of change in sleeping habits, and our kiddos are no exception.

Once the 3 days have passed with the 30 minute schedule adjustment, you will now be ready for the whole hour change, so you can put your child to nap and to bed at their normal time (before the clock change) starting with the first nap of the day on Wednesday.

For the example above, naps would return to 9:30 and 2:00 and bedtime would resume at 7:00. Again, this will take a few days to feel routine, but by the weekend following the change, things should be feel back to normal.

Bonus tip: Keep it DARK

When we fall back, our sunsets happen earlier and our sunrises do, too. The great news is that we no longer have to worry about putting the kids to bed when it is light out, but this makes early morning wake ups a bit more common because of sunlight exposure. Make sure all sleep sanctuaries are DARK DARK DARK to block out morning light.

If you are struggling with an early riser, the few days after the time change have the potential to be pretty brutal in your house because a 5 am wake up in late October becomes a 4 am wake up in early November. But don’t worry… we’ve got you covered!

“4 AM Isn’t Morning” blog post

Oh and if you are the mama of a toddler, pre-schooler or school-age kiddo, you may consider investing in a wake up clock. There are quite a few options on the market (Hatch Baby Rest is a big hit), but finding one that fits the age and ability of your little one is key. Remind your tot that morning starts AFTER the clock is on! Then be prepared to celebrate loudly and reward them for staying put.

And remember, we are here to help! Reach out if you are ready for more sleep education and customized support in finding sleep solutions for your family.

Or if a virtual sleep group is more aligned with your needs, check out those details here!

Cheers to sleep,

Brittney and the Sleeper Teachers

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