The clock change can affect us all but especially little ones with more structure to their routine that may need to be awake for nursery and school.
What is the best way to handle the clock change?
I have used 7pm as an example bedtime but just adapt the method to your own bedtime.
Newborn babies (0-6months), are usually very unpredictable anyway when it comes to sleep so simply jump to the new time on Sunday night. They may take a little longer to drift off to sleep as they won’t be quite as tired but they will adapt with time and consistency.
For babies over 6 months old we can take a more gradual approach to getting their little body clocks on the right track. On the Sunday of the clock change, if bedtime is usually 7pm you can move bedtime 15 minutes each night until you reach the new normal time. On Sunday you would put the baby down to sleep at 7:45pm. On Monday, put the baby down at 7:30pm and on Tuesday, put the baby to bed at 7:15pm until Thursday night when it will be 7pm again. Carry out the same method for all daytime naps too, and shift them by 15 minutes until the new time is met. By gradually changing the nap and bedtimes over you’re your child should not become under or over-tired.
Over 1 year old put the child down for their naps 30 minutes later than normal. For bedtime if normal time is 7pm put them down at 7:30pm. This method is referred to as ‘splitting the difference’. Do this for 3 days from the Sunday of the clock change and then on night 4 put them down at 7pm. On day 5 we can now move their nap back to their usual time.
Older children with no naps
For older children, the best way to get them to adapt to the change is to split the difference with the old time and the new time. Put them to bed at 7:30pm on Sunday (the first night of the clock change), until night 4 when you can go back to their usual bedtime.
With lighter mornings and lighter evenings it is more important than ever to try and darken your little ones rooms. If their room is light or has any residual light creeping around the curtains, you may find them waking earlier and struggling to fall to sleep at bedtime. See my blog on Bedtime routine for tips about setting healthy habits and steps for a better bedtime routine.
If you are having trouble with any aspect of your child’s sleep then please get in touch and book a free, no obligation chat to see if I can help you all get a better night’s sleep. I also have lots of hints and tips on my Instagram and Facebook page. Little Dreams Bath and Swindon