What do I do when I set the clocks back for daylight saving time?
During the fall and spring seasons, many countries move into or out of daylight saving time. People in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres begin and end daylight saving time in different months of the year– so when one is moving clocks back, the other is typically moving clocks forward, and vice versa. This post is about what to do when you have to put your clocks back by one hour (in spring time – around the month of March in the Southern Hemisphere and around the month of October in the Northern Hemisphere). For those of you looking for what to do when you have to set your clocks ahead, see my other post.
When you set your clocks back, remember that if your child usually goes to sleep at 7:30 p.m., after the time change it will really be 8:30 p.m. when you put him down (or, feel like 8:30 p.m. to him according to his internal clock). In other words, 6:30 p.m. in the newly set clock time is closer to what will feel to him like his bedtime. Your child will probably be tired a bit earlier than usual, in terms of the clock.
If you can make some changes ahead of time, then go ahead and start shifting his bedtime later by about 15 minutes every few nights (starting on Thurs night). So, if bedtime is usually 7:30 p.m., move it later slowly to 8:30 p.m. – then when the clocks are set back, he’ll be used to going to bed at his original bedtime (7:30 p.m.). It’s confusing for me, too. As you slowly move his bedtime later, let him sleep a little later in the morning to help him shift his body clock to match the new clock times. You can also shift it later by 30 minutes, starting on Saturday night.
If you didn’t make changes before daylight savings time, not a problem! Just start as soon as you can. In all likelihood, he’ll be tired earlier than 7:30 p.m. Do his bedtime when he’s tired, and move it back about 15 minutes every few days in the same way until you reach a 7:30 p.m. bedtime. He may also wake earlier in the morning than normal – that can be a challenge! Try keeping things dark and quiet until his usual wake time. At his usual wake time, expose him to as much natural daylight as possible and go about your day.
Moving the clocks can be tough for children and adults – hang in there, though – it usually only lasts a few days or a week.