Fall brings all things magical like pumpkin spice lattes, boots, slippers, tea, and that wonderful Sunday morning where you get one extra hour of sleep. Just kidding....you're a parent! So how do you adjust your child's sleep and nap schedule to fall back by an hour? First of all, don't stress. I have 2 great options for how you can tackle the time change. Pick an approach that is best for your family!
Option 1 - The gradual approach
Beginning the Sunday before the time change, start pushing your child's schedule later by 15 minutes every 2 days. By Sunday morning after the time change, your child will be back on schedule.
This is a great option if your child is sensitive to large adjustments in wake times and does better with a slow and steady change.
Keep in mind that:
By making slow adjustments like this, your child can actually become more overtired than if you were to make one big adjustment.
Be consistent - keep wake times the same as they always would be just shift everything forward.
You can accelerate this schedule by starting on Wednesday and shifting 15 minutes every day. By the time Sunday is here you'll be right back at your normal wake up time.
Option 2 - Do nothing
This is what I'll be doing with my son. It's simple, straightforward, and I always find the cold turkey approach works best for us. This is a great approach for those who aren't able to adjust your schedule during the week because of work, daycare, big sibling in school, etc.
Do nothing and treat it like any other day. Your child will likely wake up an hour early according to the clock, and that's totally okay. Keep them on their same schedule throughout the day (or as close to it as possible if on more than 1 nap a day still).
With this method, you'll put your child to bed the night before at their normal bedtime. When they wake early Sunday morning, try to keep them in their crib or bed until as close to their set morning wake time (according to the clock) as you can. Follow the clock for naps and bedtime. Anticipate the day may be a little off and naps might be rocky, that's okay and expected. Move bedtime earlier if needed to make up for any lost daytime sleep. Your child will get back on track after a few days of consistency.
If on a strict feeding schedule, do your best to hold them off until the normal scheduled feeding time Sunday morning. If it's too much, you can slowly push them 15 minutes at a time every 2 days until they're waking up and eating at their normal time again.
Be consistent! Use your normal nap and bedtime routine you always use. This will help baby's body sync to the new time.
Be patient. It always takes adults a few days to a week to adjust to the time change. Keep that in mind with your little ones as well. With your consistency they will adjust to the new schedule just like you will.
Get outside as much as you can! Use the natural light to help indicate to baby's body that it's awake time vs sleep time.
If after a couple weeks, baby is still struggling to adjust to the time change, I have email support packages to help get baby back on track.
If you need any help getting baby on the right schedule for their age, I have a feeding and sleep schedules guide to help you with just that!