First off, does everyone know it’s Daylight SavinG Time, NOT Daylight SavingS Time? Also, does everyone know that DST is ending, and the only time you denote time as, say, 9 pm PST, Pacific Standard Time (or Mountain or Central or whatever), is after DST ends until it starts again, so between the months of November and March? You’re actually supposed to say 9 pm PDT, Pacific Daylight Time, for the majority of the year. Okay, now that that little rant is over, let’s move on.
So many parents, especially those with babies that are below the age of 9 months, are terrified of DST, particularly when DST ends, or we “fall back.” Different sleep experts have different methods they recommend to deal with the time ending. I know some who like to prepare for it a few weeks ahead of time by gradually moving the schedule later or earlier, so that when DST starts or ends, their kids will be used to waking and sleeping at their regular times. I like to be pretty laid back about DST. To me, I treat it the same way as I treat sleep when I travel. Studies show that it takes people 1 day to adjust for every 1 hour they need to adjust to. If you travel from one coast to the other and you are three hours ahead or behind, it will be about 3 or 4 days until you’re back to waking and sleeping at your typical times. So, with babies, the time change should only take about 1-2 days to adjust to.
I recommend that you split the difference by 30 minutes. Let’s say your baby typically wakes up at about 6 am. You would get up on the day of the time change and look at your clock and you wouldn’t go to your baby or child until 5:30 am – which really feels like 6:30 am. If you’re the type of parent who has a baby that typically wakes at 6 am, but you wait to go to them until 7 am, then I would do the same thing- go to them at 6:30 am, which will only feel 30 minutes later to your baby or child than it normally does when you go to them. From there, you just go on about your day like normal. You’ll be about 30 minutes behind your schedule all day, putting bedtime at 30 minutes “earlier” (by the clock) than normal. If your baby normally goes to bed at 7 pm, on the day of the change you put him down at 6:30 pm, which will feel like 7:30 to him, so only 30 minutes later than he normally goes down. The next day, you forget about the time change and you just go on with your regular schedule at the regular start time.
Even as I just wrote this, it sounds incredibly complex to me – just remember that you want to try to ignore the fact that the time has changed. When DST ENDS, that first day, go completely by the clock and do everything 30 minutes earlier than you normally do, then the next day, do everything completely like normal.