Worried about the clocks going forward and how it will impact your little one’s sleep?
Below we take you through our 3 key approaches to make this change as smooth as possible:
- How Will The Clock Change My Baby’s Routine?
- Clocks Going Forward: The Progressive Approach
- Clocks Going Forward: The ‘Crash Course’ Approach
- Clocks Going Forward: The ‘Hardcore’ Baby
How Will The Clock Change Impact My Baby’s Routine?
Firstly, have a think about how sensitive your little one is to a change in their routine.
If your little one’s routine goes off track, do they get grumpy and tired quickly? Or do they adapt really quickly when you go on holiday abroad or when they stay up later than normal?
If they are sensitive to change, then you might want to think about a progressive approach over a few days to the clocks going forward one hour. If not, you can simply do nothing or go a bit more ‘crash course’.
The approaches are discussed below.
Clocks Going Forward: The Progressive Approach
This approach is suited to children that need a more gradual lead up to the clock change.
Essentially, you are going to make incremental changes to their routine a few days before the day the clocks go forward so their routine isn’t moving by 1 hour in a single day.
It’s easier to explain it using an example – see below. This example routine is based on a 7am-7pm schedule but just adjust it for your child’s bedtime:
- On the Wednesday night before the clock change, start to adjust your little one’s bedtime by putting them to bed 10mins earlier than usual.
- Repeat this 10mins adjustment on both Thursday and Friday so that on Friday night, your child’s bedtime is 30mins earlier than normal, i.e. 6.30pm.
- If your little one naps in the day, also move or shorten the naps by 10mins each day so that you still have the same wake window to bedtime.
- If they wake a little later in the mornings, that is great. That’s the idea. But if not, don’t worry at all.
- On the Saturday before the clock change, try to put them to bed 1 hour before their normal bedtime routine, i.e. 6pm.
- On Sunday morning, the plan would be for them to wake around 7am with the clock change.
- On Sunday, follow your existing routine and put your little one down at the normal routine time for naps and bedtime.
Clocks Going Forward: The ‘Crash Course’ Approach
This approach is suited to children that aren’t massively impacted by a change in their routine.
Again, we’ll explain it using an example on a 7am-7pm routine, but do adjust it for your child’s bedtime:
- Continue with your normal routine until the Saturday before the clocks change.
- On the Saturday night, try to put your little one to bed a full hour before their bedtime. If they aren’t looking tired, keep them up until 30 mins before their normal bedtime. If they have a good bedtime routine in place, this series of steps can make them feel sleepy and wind them down.
- Don’t worry if they chat to themselves in bed until their normal bedtime. They are still having ‘quiet time’ in bed with is restorative in itself.
- Be mindful of naps if your little one is still having them. You might have to cut their afternoon nap short – or remove a nap depending on their age and current length of nap – to ensure they are tired enough at bedtime.
- Wake them at 7am, or if they didn’t get to sleep until their normal bedtime then leave them until 7:30am.
- Over the next couple of days, they should re-adjust to waking at 7am.
Clocks Going Forward: The ‘Hardcore’ Baby
Or simply do nothing and don’t stress yourself over it! Some babies are super flexible and the one-hour change doesn’t impact them.
Pick the approach that best suits your little one. Our children always fall into the “crash course” approach and have coped well. Always be led by your child.
This year our children have recently migrated to a 6pm-6am schedule so we will be just doing the same as normal on the Saturday.
They will then wake around 7am on the Sunday and we will continue with the 7-7 schedule going forward as that’s what works best for us.