The Fall time change causes many parents to worry about early wakings. “Will my 6 a.m. early riser suddenly start waking at 5 a.m.?” Typically, it only takes a day or two to adjust to this 60-minute shift. Daylight hours begin to get shorter very quickly this time of year, which helps to reset their body clocks.
After the first morning, treat early wake-ups as you normally would to reinforce the boundary for sleep. Let your baby sleep until your normal wake time or cutoff time. While most babies adjust quickly, some more sensitive babies take a couple of weeks.
Recent research indicates exposure to light (natural or artificial) helps reset young children’s body blocks during time changes. Keep light dim in the morning when you are up before your ideal wake up time. Take your child outside in the morning and in the evening to expose them to the natural rhythms of the day. If it gets dark early in your area, keep the house well lit to indicate wake time, then dim the lights when you start moving towards bedtime. Light is a logical indicator of awake time or calm to sleep time for young children, so using it to reinforce changes in their schedule is very helpful.
Yes, there are other techniques to prepare for Daylight Savings. If you have a method that works great for your family. Stick to it. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Often, there are so many suggestions for how to deal with time changes that it becomes overwhelming to know which method to try. Reinforcing boundaries for sleep, and using light to help little ones understand when it is time to be awake or asleep is a simple research-based method, that will work when consistently reinforced.