OK. Take a deep breath. I didn't mean to scare you. It'll be ok. You won't be waking up pre-dawn forever, and if you're proactive and
a touch lucky (because not all kids are created equal when it comes to sleep), you won't even end up waking up earlier than usual at all.
When is Daylight Savings?
With a few exceptions, if you live in the USA or Canada, daylight savings is Sunday November 6. In the UK and much of Europe, daylight savings is Sunday October 30. You can find out when your daylight savings is here.
How do I handle daylight savings?
Everyone has different personal preferences, children and life situations so here are a couple of suggestions to choose from to help ease the transition through daylight savings.
- Make the change overnight. Here's how it works: if your child normally wakes at 7am and goes to bed at 7pm, you will continue the 7-7 routine the next day but with the clocks adjusted (so it'll be like doing a 8-8 routine at first). Your child will likely wake up a bit earlier at first (6am instead of 7am-- since 6am will feel like the new 7am to them), but you will still keep the daily routine (naps, bedtime) at the new adjusted time. It will take a bit of time before your child starts to wake up later. Just keep being consistent and you'll get there in a few days to a few weeks. If you don't have one already, a clock/light that let's your child know when it is ok to get out of bed can be a HUGE help here, as well as for any other early morning waking issues (see info on those here). If your child is one to get super overtired, you may want to do naps/bedtime a tiny bit earlier than usual or try out moving things a bit slower instead (option 2). Option 1 is my personal favorite method, but I'm one who doesn't like to hassle with something for weeks on end. We also often end up going out of town around this time (which means a bit of a chaotic schedule and time zone changes) so we simply put ourselves at the new time when we get back and the kids hardly know any change happened.
- Make change slowly (usually ahead of time). Move your baby's day 5-15 minutes later every few days. You will need to move everything later, including naps and bedtime, not just the morning wake up time. I've even heard of people making this 1 hour change over an entire month in slow increments. A variation of this method is to move only bedtime a bit later for a few days then move the rest of the day, including wake up time, to an earlier time. Then repeat with moving bedtime a bit later followed by the rest of the day. Some people will even wait for wake up time to adjust before moving bedtime later again (caution: this may or may not happen without the rest of the day moved too!) What you do is up to you and will likely be influenced by how sensitive your child is to change.
- Make no change. If your child is already waking up and going to bed pretty late you may want to make no change to their routine for either convenience or possibly to improve their sleep. This means if they normally had a 8:30-8:30 routine, it would change to 7:30-7:30 with the new time change, without any change on anyone's part (outside of changing your clock, of course).
- Let the change happen naturally by itself. We've done this method before in my family, although due to many family's time constrains, it isn't possible. What you do is let your child sleep in a bit later, if they will, as you end the summer and go into fall. Many children won't do this, but some children naturally will sleep in later when it gets cooler and darker in the morning. By the time daylight savings comes, your child may have made most or all of the time adjustment by himself. This method is easier when you have little to no naps to work around and with a child whose sleep is going pretty well already.
For some of you this change will be easy and for some of you with a sensitive child, this change will lead to one overtired child. Just keep in mind that this is temporary. Things will get back to normal soon. If they don't, you at least have the next time change in around 4 months that'll put you back on track ;)