With Daylight Savings coming up, we are worried about getting our son transitioned to the new time.

How do we get him to sleep an hour later, when we're struggling with keeping him from waking up before 6am as it is? Is there any way we can avoid a long, drawn-out process of learning the "new" time he has to wake up and go to sleep?

Will the same techniques work for the Spring, when he winds up waking an hour earlier?

  • 1
    Coming up? Over here in Europe, we just had it. Nov 3, 2011 at 16:00
  • +1, clocks went back here last weekend. My son preceded to get up at 5:15 the following morning, and has been really irritable at bedtime ever since. Nov 3, 2011 at 16:00
  • @TorbenGundtofte-Bruun Everyone knows you guys are ahead of the curve!
    – user420
    Nov 3, 2011 at 16:29
  • 4
    I despise DST .. moving the clocks around is silly, and it embodies government stupidity. Rather than change operating hours of the offices, which is easy, they require an stupid, costly change from EVERYBODY. /END RANT
    – tomjedrz
    Nov 4, 2011 at 14:18
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    Given that most adults don't adjust naturally, I'm not sure there's a whole lot to do for the kid. I really wish DST would die already.
    – DA01
    Nov 4, 2011 at 15:29

4 Answers 4


This year what we did was take our kids out on a day trip where we ran them ragged. We took them to a park with a big hill and let them run and play as much as they wanted to. We kept them up a half hour past their normal bedtime by getting home a bit later and going through their normal evening routine a half hour later. They were so tired that they slept right through the extra hour and got up at their normal time the next day. We were already on track for a normal day when we got up in the morning.

  • That's close enough to what we wound up doing that I'm accepting your answer (I'd rather accept someone else's than my own). Thanks!
    – user420
    Nov 15, 2011 at 15:52
  • Update: This year everyone in the house had colds. We kept to our regular schedule, and it worked fine. They needed the extra sleep to get better anyway. Nov 4, 2013 at 17:14

I know of no other solution than just chugging along in your daylight-adjusted normal daily routine, as near to your normal hours as you can manage, and let the child adjust on his own. He probably has a bit of variance in his routine anyway (maybe half an hour?), so you can treat this as a variance too, albeit perhaps a little bigger.

Very small children don't have a sense of time the way we do. In my experience, it's not worth a lot of planning and effort and exceptions to make anything special out of this date. It's only twice a year, and soon enough he'll be old enough to grasp the concept well enough to let you sleep that extra hour.


You could try gradual changes: change his routine by 10mins a day leading up to it (or away from it!). It would only take a week.

  • this is an idea that sounds absurd at first, but actually is an interesting concept. This is actually an interesting idea for a clock...a clock that instead of flipping the hour at 2 am instead adjusts itself by 10 minutes each evening the 6 days leading up to it. Granted, the rest of the world wouldn't be coordinated with you...
    – DA01
    Nov 4, 2011 at 15:30
  • This is actually a great idea, and it would apply any time you need to adjust a child's schedule (going from summer to getting up for school, change in parent's work times, long vacation in a nearby time zone, etc.)
    – Sarato
    Nov 5, 2011 at 3:28
  • I recall reading a scientific article stating that gradual changes are more difficult than one fell swoop. I can't provide this a an answer because I can't find the reference now; hence this comment. On the other hand, you get what you measure, and there will always be exceptions. Nov 16, 2011 at 6:52
  • This was how we handled it and it made all the difference in the world for us! My daughter gets quite tearful if she is over-tired (even still at six) so it helped to prevent meltdowns from lack-of sleep. Dec 3, 2012 at 1:07

What we wound up doing was simply keeping him awake an hour later the night before. He still woke up at his normal time (now 5am instead of 6am), but he was still tired enough that when we came in and told him to go back to sleep, he did, and slept soundly for another hour.

All in all, it was much easier than we feared.

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