Daylight Savings can be a frustrating time of year. Whether it is the start of finish of daylight savings, you may find that just as your child starts sleeping better and longer, then BAM! The time shift causes temporary sleep disruptions.
When Daylight Savings starts, we start to see darker mornings but brighter evenings! The sun is up much longer and getting your child to bed at their usual time can be more challenging. As for the revert back to standard time, we see lighter mornings, and evenings starting much earlier. As anticipated, this can cause disruptions to our little one's sleeping patterns. But the good news is, there are things we can do to prepare for the shift and I have everything you need to adjust to the shift, your way!
If you are part of a State or Territory in Australia which participates in Daylight Savings, you may be aware that the shift occurs in October and then again in April.
Spring Forward - October
The Spring change occurs on the first Sunday of October when the local standard time is about to reach 2am and the clocks are turned forward 1 hour, and 2am becomes 3am local time instead.
This pending change in time can be difficult due to the unknown of how our children will adapt. The good news is though, if your child is early morning waking, then this change in time should naturally help your child move to a later sleep phase.
Many families choose to do nothing with their child's sleep phase at this time of year. Families embrace the later sleep windows and happily fall into a 8-8 routine. The brighter evenings and later sunsets provide children with more outside activity opportunities before bed which can really help with settling at bedtime. And the bonus is that children wake later, so a sleep-in is granted for those parents! It's win-win!
Fall Behind - April
And then there's the switch! Daylight savings comes to an end as we say goodbye to the summer season and welcome the cooler weather. The days will be shorter and the nights will become darker sooner.
The Autumn time change begins on the first Sunday in April, when the local daylight savings time reaches 3am, the clocks are turned backward 1 hour and just like that, 3am becomes 2am local standard time instead.
This switch is a little more painful if your child is early morning waking, because rather than waking at their usual time, they will wake around 1 hour earlier! This can be frustrating and tiring when you start your day earlier than desired and miss out on much needed sleep.
If you chose to move to an 8-8 during the summer seasons, then you should find that your child naturally reverts to a 7-7 structure. However, if you're hoping to keep to your child's current structure, then it is certainly possible.
So how do you manage the shift in timings, I hear you ask?! Well, there are a few ways it can be done. What you choose to do is all based on what works into your lifestyle and how you feel which strategy would work best for you and your family.
In many cases, an immediate switch is the most simple because you don’t need to do any preparation or gradual adjustments. You can just start your usual routine that very day the time change occurs and manage a possible rough few days whilst your child adapts to the time change.
If you’re a planner and like to have sleep disrupted as minimal as possible, you may wish to use a gradual approach and be proactive or reactive.
A proactive approach is implemented nearly two weeks before the impending time change and you move your schedule forward by 15 minutes every few days until you have moved an hour over a near two weeks period.
A reactive approach is implemented on the day the daylight savings change occurs. With this approach, you move your schedule by 15 minutes every few days until you reach your new schedule.
Do you feel like you need a little clearer direction on how to manage the changes? Read on to see the strategies for each season and approach. The provided strategies are based on a 7am-7pm schedule however, you can adjust the strategy to suit your child’s schedule.
October - PROACTIVE
Friday, Saturday, Sunday: wake at 6.45am – food and naps 15 minutes earlier than usual – bedtime 6.45pm
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: wake at 6.30am – food and naps 30 minutes earlier than usual – bedtime 6.30pm
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: wake at 6.15am – food and naps 45 minutes earlier than usual – bedtime 6.15pm
Sunday – back to a 7am-7pm schedule
October - REACTIVE (starting the day daylight savings commences)
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: wake at 7.45am – food and naps 45 minutes earlier than usual – bedtime 7.45pm
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: wake at 7.30am – food and naps 30 minutes earlier than usual – bedtime 7.30pm
Saturday, Sunday, Monday: wake at 7.15am – food and naps 15 minutes earlier than usual – bedtime 7.15am
Tuesday: Back to a 7am-7pm schedule
April - PROACTIVE
Friday, Saturday, Sunday: start the day at 7.15am – food and naps 15 minutes later than usual – bedtime 7.15pm
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: start the day at 7.30am – food and naps 30 minutes later than usual – bedtime 7.30pm
Thursday, Friday, Saturday: start the day at 7.45am – food and naps 45 minutes later than usual – bedtime 7.45pm
Sunday: back to a 7am-7pm schedule
April - PROACTIVE (starting the day daylight savings ends)
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: start the day at 6.15am with a bedtime 6.15pm
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: start the day at 6.30am with a bedtime 6.30pm
Saturday, Sunday, Monday: start the day at 6.45am with a bedtime 6.45pm
Tuesday: Back to a 7am-7pm schedule
I hope this information gives you the tools you need to manage the transitional phases through daylight savings.
If you do need some one on one help to get your child's sleep on track, you can book in for a 15 minute free discovery call.
Forever brining sleep to families,
My name is Shereen Nielsen and I am a certified infant and child sleep consult, working with children aged birth to 12 years. I am also a lecturer and mentor for students on their journey towards becoming a Sleep Consultant, through my on-line internationally recognised sleep consultants course.
If you would like more information about my services please contact me: