The clock change affects us all but especially those little ones that have structure to their routine and that may need to be awake for nursery and school. How do you ease your little ones into the new time?
I have been getting lots of queries recently about how to handle the clocks springing forward on Sunday 26th March so thought I would refresh my blog focussing on ‘how ease your little one into the new time’.
The spring clock change is the one we adults dislike especially for those that have to work on Sunday for we lose 1 hour of precious sleep.
For those with children it has the potential to make those early wake ups a little more mentally manageable as the clock will read 1 hour later than our body clocks are feeling.
How to manage 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 bed timings 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.
I should also note that 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 make bespoke sleep plans that allow you to teach your child sleep skills whilst meeting their emotional and physical needs. I do not use a ‘cry-it-out’ approach but an evidenced based clear approach to help you all get a better night’s sleep.