“Falling Back” 2021 – Making the Transition Easy!

It’s that time of year again! On Sunday, November 7th, at 2:00 AM, the clocks will “fall back” 1 hour. This is especially rough for those with an early riser at home! I’m here to give you 3 easy-to-follow options to help you adjust your little one to the upcoming time change. Review the options below and go with the one that suits your family’s needs best. If you’re not sure which one to go with, I’d love to chat! 

Option 1: “Fall Back” Gradually

Best for “sensitive sleepers,” who do well with a scheduled routine and have a harder time switching things up, or younger infants who might have a hard time staying awake longer than usual before their next nap.

Starting 4-7 days before the time change, start your child’s day 15 minutes later than usual. This may mean that we wait to get the little ones from their crib for 15 minutes after they awaken, or, if using an “OK to wake” clock with a toddler, adjust the OK light to 15 minutes later. Adjust all naps, meals/feeds, and bedtime that day to 15 minutes later as well. Depending on your comfort level, move your child’s wake time and schedule by another 15 minutes every 2 days (if starting 7 days before) or each day (if starting 4 days before). By the time we move the clocks back, your child will be going to bed 1 hour later, but will also be waking 1 hour later as well (which then will be at their “typical” time).

For the most gradual change:

Sun, 10/31/21Adjust wake up/daily routine/bedtime later by 15 minutes
Mon, 11/01/21Keep schedule the same as the previous day
Tues, 11/02/21Adjust wake up/daily routine/bedtime later by 15 minutes
Wed, 11/03/21 Keep schedule the same as the previous day
Thurs, 11/04/21Adjust wake up/daily routine/bedtime later by 15 minutes
Fri, 11/05/21Keep schedule the same as the previous day
Sat, 11/06/21Adjust wake up/daily routine/bedtime later by 15 minutes
Sun, 11/07/21Keep the schedule the same as the previous day – your little one will now be waking at their “typical” time!

For a faster change:

Wed, 11/03/21 Adjust wake up/daily routine/bedtime later by 15 minutes
Thurs, 11/04/21Adjust wake up/daily routine/bedtime later by 15 minutes
Fri, 11/05/21Adjust wake up/daily routine/bedtime later by 15 minutes
Sat, 11/06/21Adjust wake up/daily routine/bedtime later by 15 minutes
Sun, 11/07/21Keep the schedule the same as the previous day – your little one will now be waking at their “typical” time!

Option 2: “Fall Back” Quickly

Best for families who want to adjust on the weekend only, or who have less sensitive sleepers who are a bit more flexible with sleep (can more easily stay awake longer before naps and bedtime).

On Saturday, 11/06/21, start your child’s day 30 minutes later than usual. This may mean that we wait to get the little ones from their crib for 30 minutes after they awaken, or, if using an “OK to wake” clock with a toddler, adjust the OK light to 30 minutes later. Adjust all naps, meals/feeds, and bedtime that day to 30 minutes later as well.

On Sunday, 11/07/21, the clocks will have gone back 1 hour, so you’ll start your child’s day at their “typical” time! Easy, right?!

Option 3: “Fall Back” Easy-Peasy

Best for families who don’t have time to plan ahead (I feel you!), families who have a late-riser who would be OK waking earlier, families looking to move their child’s bedtime 1 hour earlier (this is the time!), and children who typically sleep well and are therefore more flexible with schedule changes.

On Sunday, 11/07/21, you’ll simply allow your child to wake up at their regular time (which will now be 1 hour earlier on the clock). 

If you’re looking to move bedtime earlier by 1 hour, all naps, meals/feeds, and bedtime will be moved earlier by 1 hour, as well.

If bedtime is OK where it is, keep all naps, meals/feeds, and bedtime at their typical times. This will mean they will have an extra hour to wait before each of their daily activities – on this day only.

After a few days, your child will be adjusted to the new schedule!

Tips for Success:

Tip 1: Use daylight and darkness to your advantage! Get your child outside and exposed to daylight every day. At night, dim all lights during the bedtime routine. When it’s time to sleep, keep their room as dark as possible. Remember that children under 2 years old aren’t developmentally able to be afraid of the dark – that takes imagination, which typically doesn’t appear until after age 2!

Tip 2: When in doubt, go to bed early! I’m the world’s biggest advocate for an early bedtime. For any of the 3 options above, not adjusting bedtime any later is never a bad idea! We get our best, most restorative sleep early in the night and an earlier bedtime actually decreases night wakings and early morning wakings (it’s true!). If we miss our biologic bedtime, our “second wind” kicks in, which is our body’s way of artificially giving us energy by releasing adrenaline and cortisol. With these hormones circulating, we have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep. Early bedtimes rock! Especially for parents:)

Best of luck! I’d love to hear about your daylight saving successes so please share with me! 

Sleep well,

Allison

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