Tips for Falling Back

| November 2, 2012 | 14 Comments

Green alarm clockAre you ready to fall back? On the night of Saturday, November 3rd, it will be time to set your clocks back an hour. While you might be excited at the prospect of an extra hour of sleep, chances are that the change is going to disrupt your children’s sleep schedules. Although gaining an hour of sleep is less of a disruption than losing an hour, any change is likely to interfere with your child’s internal clock. They get used to a particular schedule and routine, and any change can be difficult. Here are a few small tips to help you help your child adjust to the time difference.

  • Expect the disruption. On average, it takes a child about a week for your child’s body clock to reset itself and adjust to the new time frame. While it’s possible that your child will be the one that sails right through it, it’s best if you expect to deal with the effects of a time disruption and plan accordingly.
  • Maintain consistency. You may be tempted to keep them up later so they’ll sleep the extra hour in the morning, but resist the urge. Even if it seems counter-intuitive, your best bet is to keep your bedtime routine as consistent and stable as possible. Send them to bed at the same time as always if they can stay up, and just let it work itself out.
  • Adjust naptimes. Here’s a sleep schedule that you can adjust. If you have small children who still take afternoon naps, try pushing off nap time by fifteen minutes for several days leading up to the time change. This will help them adjust to staying up what feel like a little bit later. By the time the time change is done, they’ll feel more like going to sleep on time, even if on time feels a little off.
  • Get some exercise. This, of course, is a good thing for children any time, and all the time. But it’s particularly helpful around the time of a time change. Spend as much time as you can manage during the day outside in the sunshine. While you’re out there, encourage lots of physical activity and play. This will help their bodies recognize that it’s day time, time for being outside and being busy and active. By contrast, night time will naturally feel like time to wind down, relax an rest. Plus, they’ll be all tired out from all the activity earlier in the day. This will help them not to be restless, and to sleep well, hopefully until a decent hour in the morning.

Remember that your kids don’t need to be able to tell time to realize that something is up when we adjust the clocks. The internal clock is very real, and it will tell them if something is off. Explain why we adjust the clocks and answer any questions they have. Then do what you can to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Comments (14)

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  1. Theresa Reed says:

    It’s been so long since we had to change our clocks. I live in Arizona and we don’t change our clocks. Its pretty nice not to have to worry about that.

  2. Scott M says:

    ty for this I always forget.

  3. Megan says:

    I am really fortunate that I have never had problems with time changes – and my family traveled a lot when I was a kid! So hopefully the next generation will be the same!

  4. Jennifer Mae Hiles says:

    Last year at this time my daghtter was only 6 months and I had a terrible time with the time change. I told my husband that no one told Ella (my daughter) that we changed the clocks! Getting her back on track took some time but I think your tips will help.

  5. bianca roman says:

    i can’t wait for the time change lol and i think my three year old will be quite happy. on certain days of the week, i have to wake him up earlier because i travel to another office 🙁 i hate waking him up. i love falling back because that always meant being able to run errands after work!!

  6. Karen H in NC says:

    Some very good information. I don’t have young children to worry about, but the time changes really screw up my internal clock!

  7. Lori Trezza says:

    The only thing I have problems with falling back or my cats feeding schedule. They know when feeding time is and I can’t change it immediately or they will hound me until fed so I change them more slowly so as not to upset their schedules too much. Worse than having young children!

  8. Seth says:

    Exercise! I plan to do yoga to help my body get relaxed. It should make for getting to sleep easier.

  9. Katy M says:

    Thanks for the tips. I’m not looking forward to falling back at all, but hopefully these ideas will make it a bit easier!

  10. Em Sands says:

    Thanks for the helpful tips. I wish we would drop Daylight Savings, it just messes with my mind for a week, trying to figure out what time it “really” is! ; )

  11. Jodi K says:

    Thanks for the tips, I usually dont have too much trouble with “falling back” its the “springing forward” that really throws me off!

  12. Kristie Betts says:

    Remembered the day before but forgot to set my clocks back and boy I was trying to figure out what was going on Fail for me!!!

  13. Jose Tuason says:

    At an extent this also applies to travelers.

  14. carla bonesteel says:

    This applies to anyone, not just kids…I swear, I haven’t slept past 5am, even on the weekends, since the last time I turned the clocks back! It’s so strange

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