Updated: Apr 26
Does Daylight Saving Time stress you out? Honestly, it really doesn’t bother me. That may be because my kids adjust to the time change relatively easily. No judgment if it stresses you out, especially if your kiddo is super sensitive to any adjustments to their bedtime or wake up routine.
Falling-back is definitely better than springing-ahead, IMO. The short dark days are pretty lame (and seasonal-affect-disorder-inducing), but it's not awful for adjusting sleep. Falling-back is easier for kiddo's that are decent sleepers and actually lends a good opportunity to fix some sleep challenges for those kiddos who aren't.
Check out my suggestions for adjusting to Daylight Saving Time based on what type of sleeper your child is.
Good Sleeper or Sensitive to Time Change
Making gradual changes is the most common way to adjust to Daylight Saving Time and works best for most children, even those who are sensitive to any changes with their sleep.
Move your kiddo's bedtime (and nap times) 15 minutes later every 1-3 days for the next 4-12 days. If your child typically goes to bed at 8PM, and it now feels like 8PM when it is really 7PM with the time change, bedtime will be at 715PM initially. Confusing enough?
You can take it slower if your kiddo is more sensitive to the timing of his or her sleep, or a little faster if your kiddo is not as affected by the exact time he or she goes to sleep.
For younger kiddos, it is best to make the change gradually so your little one doesn't get too overtired the first few nights, leading to a restless night and early morning waking (no one wants that!).
In my house, the dark mornings help my kids to sleep in a little later and get in sync with the new time schedule a little quicker. Probably the only positive of so much darkness.
Late Bedtime, Need More Sleep, or Late AM Waker
My favorite part of Daylight Saving Time in the Fall... fixing sleep problems with the time change! There are three types of sleepers who DST actually benefits!
Do you have a child who has too late of a bedtime? A kiddo who needs an hour of more sleep at night? Or one who gets enough sleep, but can't make the bus because he sleeps too late in the morning? If so, you are in luck!
If your kiddo has a bedtime that is later than you would like it to be, this is a great opportunity to change that.
Check it out. If your child goes to bed at 830PM and you want him to go to bed at 730PM, put him to bed when he normally feels tired (730PM the “new” daylight saving time) and run with it.
No adjustments for either of you, and you all of a sudden have your ideal bedtime!
This will also work for the kiddo who needs a bit more sleep overnight. If your child needs an hour more of overnight sleep, research shows the best way to do this is to get them to bed earlier.
For the kiddo who just can't get up early enough in the morning to make the bus, shifting his sleep an hour earlier will give him the same amount of sleep, plus a little more time to get ready in the morning.