Three ways to prepare your baby for the clocks changing

Article written by Vickie Gordon, Sleep Consultant

There is no denying that Autumn has now arrived. The leaves are turning and the evenings and mornings are already darker. For many parents this starts to ring alarm bells as they know that in the coming weeks it will be the Autumn clock change.

This clock change pre parenting used to mean an extra hour in bed. Unfortunately it doesn’t work the same for our little ones. The clock change leaves many parents feeling anxious about how it may mess up their baby or child’s routine. After all if your baby is currently waking at 6am this now becomes 5am, and that is not morning! There is not enough coffee to make a 5am wake up okay. 

But fear not, if you follow these helpful tips, you can guide your baby or child through the clock change as if it never happened. 

There are a few different options to choose from, the option you choose will largely depend on the age of your child and what you feel will work best for them.

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How to get my child ready for the clocks changing

Option 1: Starting on the Wednesday before the clock change, start the bedtime routine 15 minutes later than normal, so that they are going down to bed 15 minutes later, then increase this by 15 minutes each evening so that by Saturday night everything is starting an hour later and bedtime is an hour later.

This is ideal for younger ones and ones that are already prone to early rising. You may also want to consider pushing  the naps and meal times by the same time so that the wakeful windows are not too big. 

Option Two: On the Friday night start the bedtime routine 30 minutes later so they are then going to bed 30 minutes later than normal. Then on the Saturday night start the bedtime routine 1 hour later making bedtime 1 hour later than normal.

This option is better suited to older children and ones that are quick to adapt to change. Again if you little one is still having a daytime nap then consider moving this a little later to help avoid the over tiredness at bedtime.

Option Three: Carry on as normal. So on Saturday do the child’s normal time for bed. On the Sunday then pop them to bed at the same time again, If they seem to be struggling to make it to bedtime then don’t be afraid to pop them down a little earlier.

This is best suited to older children who are not really affected by the small changes. It would also work well if you child uses a sleep/wake clock (such as the gro clock) that has been changed to the new time.

Another  tip to help with the time change is to get them outside in the natural daylight as much as possible on the Sunday as this helps to regulate the body clock.

Make sure the baby or child’s sleep space is conducive to sleep, for a little while it will get lighter in the mornings again so make sure you have the blackout blinds in place.

It can take about a week for some children to adjust. Do not panic if your little one doesn’t adjust well and sleep is a bit wonky for a few days, stay consistent to your approach and response and all will be back on track in no time.

For more support contact Vikkie Gordon, sleep consultant.

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