I love everything about the fall. I love the weather, the colors and most of all the “fall back” time change. It’s like I get an extra hour each day, all year long…
or at least until that other unspeakable spring ahead thing comes along.
For many families this time change is great and mostly works in your favor. This is the time to reset your child’s sleep and get them to bed earlier. Although at first they might wake earlier in the morning, with the following suggestions that should not last too long.
Most suggestions for time change preparations are for children 5 months and older.
For this one time change, light exposure is really the most significant factor in resetting circadian rhythms. Therefore, this is less relevant for newborns and infants under 3-4 months while sleep patterns are still being consolidated.
- At night after dinner keep the lights a bit brighter each night. Although the clock time will be different, your child’s body clock has stayed the same. Therefore, let your child still go to sleep when he/she is tired but extend the light a bit at night.
- On the other end keep it a bit darker in the morning as well. If you can keep it dark for one hour longer in the morning this will help re-set the clock. Wait in the morning at least 30 extra minutes before you go in for your wake up ritual. Keep it dark until then. If that seems like too much then push wake up ritual later by 15 minutes each morning. Once it is light out do get your child in the sunlight as well by adding a morning walk into your routine.
- Remember to move naps as well. I recommend doing this in 15 minute increments until you find the sweet spot for naps. Therefore, you will move the first nap 15 minutes later in the morning and then adjust the following naps based on the length and quality of the previous naps.
Asleep times for each age
- newborn – 9-10 p.m.
- 4-6 months – 8 – 9 p.m. although many infants are moving up to the 7:00 bedtime by now.
- 6-8 months – 7 – 7:30 p.m.
- 8-10 months – 6 – 7 p.m.
- toddlers – 6 – 7 p.m.
- young children through elementary – 7:00 p.m. – no later than 7:30 p.m.
- middle school – 8:00 – 8:30
- high school – 9:00 – no later than 9:30
- The rest of us – no later than 10:00