Time Change Warning

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It is that time of year again. That time of year most mothers of young children despise and most teenagers love. Time change. We “Fall Back” and “gain” one hour. This means what your child knows as 7 AM will become the new 6 AM. If you have never experienced a fall time change, let me inform you that for most babies, this one is pretty hard.

If you live in most of Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or American Samoa, go ahead and go back to your nice weather and stop reading this post. Unless you just want to feel happy you aren’t dealing with it.

If you live in the Southern Hemisphere and your area observes Daylight Saving Time, you are going to enjoy the easier side of Daylight Saving Time when you move forward.

The time change for the United States is November 7 (first Sunday in November). For most of Europe, it is October 31. Although I would assume most people know what is going on where they are, a list of countries in the world and their DST status can be found here. Most Southern Hemisphere countries seem to be moving in early October, so take note of that.

Now on to the how. Never fear, I have posts to help you.

Start with Time Change Strategies.

If you have older children, be sure to read Time Change with Older Children. I would classify “older” in this case anyone over 12 months old.

Also, read through Time Change: Troubleshooting. This was written in response to common questions I saw people have over the first year of this blog.

Here is a quick summary on my recommendations.

For children two and younger, I really like the slow approach outlined in Time Change Strategies. I spend a solid month moving the clock in 15 minute intervals each week. If you have a more flexible child, you could try doing this in two weeks with 30 minute intervals, or even 15 minute intervals every few days. This is for you to decide.

For two and older, I usually take it faster. I will do one week before the time change and one week after the time change, adjusting 30 minutes as I go.

If you have early time constraints in the morning (you work, your child is in school, your child has a lesson of some sort), be sure to take that into consideration so you can make it to these things on time on either side of the time change. For the “falling back” time change, you might need to wait until after the time change to shift things. This might also be true if you have evening time constraints because shifting the schedule means a changing bedtime.

I have never had any major issues with the time change. My kids have all done well with my slow and steady approach. I do get a lot of questions following a time change that start “everything was perfect until the time change….”, so do take the time to think through and plan ahead. That is why I am giving you such an early warning. Good luck! And even though I call this your “warning”–don’t be scared šŸ™‚


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Valerie, also known as The Babywise Mom, is the mother to four children. She has been blogging on Babywise and general parenting since 2007. She has a degree in technical writing and loves using those skills to help parents be the best parents they can be! Read her book,Ā The Babywise Mom Nap Guide, to get help on sleep from birth through the preschool years. You can also find her writing at Babywise.life, Today Parenting, and Her View From Home. Read more about Valerie and her family on theĀ AboutĀ page. Follow her onĀ Facebook,Ā Pinterest, andĀ InstagramĀ for more tips and helps.

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  1. Jessica
    September 22, 2010 / 9:26 PM

    I was just thinking about this the other day. Thanks for the reminder. Game plan time! šŸ˜‰

  2. Lonnie and Aymee
    September 23, 2010 / 12:58 PM

    Thank you so much for this reminder. I am new to the States and when time change came last year I didn't know what to do, so I left it the same. That meant that our 7am wake time became 6am! That was the worst winter ever for me, because I didn't realize that during December-March the sun would be up around 8am, lol. So thank you for the reminder, this year we will definetely make the change!

  3. Susanna
    September 24, 2010 / 9:19 PM

    Valerie,What if you have a 5 month old (who will be well over 6 months old when the time change occurs!) who isn't STTN? Would you recommend adjusting our schedule a month in advance if she's still waking once at night (usually 5 a.m.-ish which would mean it would be 4 a.m. with Fall Back)? I would think if she still isn't STTN, I would just do what I'm doing now which is feed her on one side and then wait her out til our desired waketime as much as possible. Any thoughts?Also, any thoughts on how to get her to STTN?! I'm not ready for CIO since she's a reflux baby and is on meds for it and I honestly can't do CIO in the middle of the night. Thanks,Susanna

  4. Plowmanators
    October 11, 2010 / 10:56 PM

    Susanna, for STTN, see the post "nightime sleep issues, revised and updated". As for the time change, I might do two weeks before and two weeks after. So 15 minutes each week for 4 weeks.

  5. Matt, Jennie, and Noelle Ours
    November 10, 2010 / 8:25 PM

    Hello,Well, I missed the time change prep this fall and this is my first baby – 11 months old. Just like you indicated her 7 is now 6 am. I've read and re-read the strategies, but still am not getting how to help her transition now that the change has occurred and her naps and everything are disrupted. She is waking at 5:30 or 6 am instead of 6:30-7 am. We don't go and get her b/c we of your "metabolism" section and she will talk to herself for 30 min – 1 hr so we're waiting to feed her at 6:30 am when she starts fussing/crying for someone. Any tips? I'm not sure what time to move in the morning with the wakeup time since she is waking up on her own. We put her to bed at 7:30 pm at night. After the time change she has barely been able to stay awake until 7pm. Thanks for your help!!

  6. Plowmanators
    November 18, 2010 / 8:28 PM

    Jennie, Typically what you would do is wait 15 extra minutes before getting her up for a week. So you would get her at 5:45 instead of 5:30…But I think you should just go with your current strategy. Get her up at 6:30. Put her down for nap times at specific times. Put her to bed at a specific time–but do respect her possible need for a bit of an early bedtime or you will have an overly tired baby. Stick with that and after several weeks, she should kick in to it being normal for her.

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