Fall Back: How To Adjust Your Child’s Sleep For Daylight Saving Time

4-16 months

Oct 6, 2020

Daylight Saving Time is coming, but don’t worry- it won’t wreck your child’s sleep! We’ll all make slight adjustments together, and we’ll survive! There are two ideas on how to deal with DST: One is to adjust weeks ahead of time, and the other is to wait until the weekend it happens. I don’t see any reason why we should slowly adjust weeks prior, so in this article I’ll be walking you through how to change your child’s sleep schedule on Daylight Saving Weekend.

>>BONUS: See end of blog for screen grabs to save & refer to!<<

When should I get started?

When we “Fall Back”, or gain an hour of sleep, we are tempted to reset the clocks before we head off to bed.  My suggestion is to not mess with manually changing them Saturday night. Leave them alone so it’s not psychologically upsetting to see your little one up an hour earlier in the morning. (Unless your alarm clock is automatically adjusting…then just hide it for a few hours 😆)

On Sunday, wake up at your usual time and start the day.  (Yes, it might be 5am or 6am…but their bodies, and yours, still feel like its 6 or 7).  After you’ve had coffee and you’re feeling mentally prepared, go around and change all the clocks. It will feel much better this way! Trust me.

How do I adjust naps?

If your little one (for example) usually takes a morning nap around 9:30, move it up to 9am for the first three days.  It will be a little push (since it feels like 10am to her), but it won’t be so horrible that it ruins her schedule. Do the same with the afternoon nap.

NAP 1- 9:30 AM → now at →  9AM (feels like 10AM)
NAP 2- 2:00PM → now at →  1:30PM (feels like 2:30PM)

How do I adjust bedtime?

If your little guy normally goes to bed at 7pm, I recommend putting him to bed at 6:30pm for the first three days (Sunday/Monday/Tuesday).  To him, it feels like 7:30pm.

BEDTIME- 7:00 PM → now at →  6:30PM (feels like 7:30PM)

How long will this last?

Usually it takes about a week for everyone to get used to this.  For the first three days make the adjustments as needed. Usually after three days you’re safe to jump back into the “old” times.  But, everyone is different! Some kids, especially school aged, can easily make the change without shifting bedtimes.

I have a Toddler, how can I make this adjustment easier?

If your little one is over the age of two you can use a clock like the Hatch Rest.  Set the clock forward half an hour during the adjustment week and let them get up a little earlier as their body gets acclimated to the new time.  By the end of the week their bodies should be back on track and they’ll be sleeping until their normal wake up time.

Wake at 7AM normally → now it’s → 6AM
Monday morning let the clock go off at 6:30AM
Thursday morning let the clock go off at 7AM

Fourth Night:

On the fourth night of the week (Wednesday) your child’s body should be quite used the new change.  Get them back on their usual 7pm bedtime, and move naps accordingly.

Don’t forget about YOU!

And remember! Push your bedtime a little early too since you’ll be waking up early as well. There is actually a spike in auto accidents during this week, so make sure you keep getting the rest your body needs too!

It’ll be okay, ya’ll! PROMISE!!!

Sweet Dreams,
Becca Campbell
Your Pediatric Sleep Consultant






  1. Kortney says:

    So no pushing naps 30 min later for a 5 month old? Just follow proper awake times? But then how do I get him to adjust?

  2. Elise says:

    Since naps are earlier (but later) should we wake from nap if they’re sleeping longer than normal?

    • Becca Campbell says:

      I’d keep the same expectations of how much daily nap time. Example, 2 nap schedule needs 3 hours of daytime sleep, so let’s keepthat!

  3. Lindsay says:

    Baby still wakes up at the old 7am despite going to sleep at the new 7pm. What should we do in the morning?

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