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Marietta M. Paxson M.S., AMFT

marietta@littledreamers.us

(435) 770-8312

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Fall Back Time Change Sleep Saver

The bi-annual time change is just around the corner, and I am already dreading it. Can someone please help me understand why we are still doing this? Or perhaps show me where to sign so we can petition to abolish it. We can call it Moms United Against Daylight Savings. Yes, I think that has a nice ring to it. I mean, let's be honest, this is the one challenge that almost (lucky Arizona!) every single mother will have to deal with. Every. Single. Mother. And dealing with it is awful! You would think being granted an extra hour of time would be the ultimate gift for any mom, but it actually turns into the ultimate punishment. 

 

 

Moms, despite my negative attitude about the time change let me reassure you that we are not helpless! With just a few intentional interventions we can make the transition much smoother. Perfect? Does that exist with children? Bearable? Yes! Dreaded no longer? Okay, that might be a stretch. But don't forget to read to the end of this post where you will find my secret weapon to make the time change transition not only doable but somewhat enjoyable!

 

Generally speaking, there are two different methods, and multiple options within each method, to help you adjust to the time change more, shall we say, timely. The first method is Slow and Steady. The second is Fast and All at Once. Below I explain each one and the different options for each, so you are bound to find the perfect fit for you and your family. 

 

Slow and Steady: Method 1, Option A

As the name suggests you will make the change slowly over a few days or week. I suggest making this gradual shift once the time change has already happened. Sometimes you can get away with a small shift before and the rest after. It is beneficial to wait until the actual time change has taken place because then the daily events that cue your child into what time it is will shift along with the clock. Your child will likely adjust quicker and smoother when the rest of your day has adjusted as well. However, to avoid any confusion I will explain what it would look like to make the adjustment before the time change so the clock time and normal sleep time are the same.  

 

Let's say you have a child who normally goes to sleep at 7:00 p.m. Since this time change is in the fall we will be falling back one hour, and your child would eventually be going to bed an hour later than normal. On the first day you will want to put your child to bed 15 minutes later than normal at 7:15 p.m. Your child may wake up at the normal wake up time but you will continue to push nap times back by 15 minutes as well. You will continue this small change for 1-3 days, depending on how quickly your child adjusts and how quickly you want to move to the next step. 

 

You will continue, starting with bedtime, to move the time you lay your baby down for bed by 15 minutes every few days until he is being laid down 1 hour later than normal for bedtimes and naps. It may take one to two weeks for the child to adjust the wake up time in the morning, but if you are consistent he will adjust. 

 

 

Fast and All At Once: Method 2, Option A

In this option you will make the change all at once! Again, you want to start with bedtime the night before and put your baby to bed one hour later than normal. Your child may or may not sleep in longer and might even wake up earlier, so be prepared for that. I would leave your child in his room until the normal wakeup time (going by the clock) to help him adjust faster. Remember the more consistent you are at putting your baby down one hour later for naps and bedtimes as well as getting up one hour later in the morning the quicker the adjustment will be. 

 

Fast and All At Once: Method 2, Option B

Another option would be to split the time difference between bedtime and naps the following day. If your child is taking 2 naps, you could lay your child down 15 minutes later than normal for bedtime, then 30 minutes later than normal for the first nap, then 45 minutes later than normal for the second nap, and finally one hour later for bedtime. You would calculate the appropriate amount of time by referring to how many naps your child is taking. If your child is taking no naps, I would do 30 minutes the first night and then 30 minutes the next night. 

 

Time Change Game Changer; Surprise Method 3

Finally, my favorite method. This method works great for moms who are OCD and moms who are completely spontaneous. It is genius I tell you. Are you ready? It's actually pretty simple and quite fun! All you need to do is pack up your kids...and take them on a trip! Everyone knows that a baby and child's sleep schedule is slightly thrown off when they are traveling, so this is a great way to help your child adjust without even realizing they are adjusting. Try to be a little more relaxed about getting your children to go down for naps and bedtimes, so that they will gradually be going to sleep later. When you get home on Sunday, just follow your schedule by the clock. Yes, they may resist it slightly, but it would be no more of an adjustment than adjusting to any other trip coming home! Plus this one is more fun for everyone! I think this option is especially fun for moms or dads who are pretty OCD about their child's sleep schedule, not that I know anything about that personally (cough cough). The whole point of the trip is to disrupt sleep schedules and then come home and jump into a new one in a sense. Sometimes it is easier to let go when we know there is a purpose in it. 

 

I hope this helps you as you navigate this time change with your little ones. Don’t’ forget if you have specific questions I host a free Q&A on Facebook every week and I would love to hear from you to get some help for your specific situation. Keep on keeping on moms! Go. Fight. Love.

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