It’s Autumn –the clocks are about to ‘fall’ back!
It’s that time – the time that
pre-children you relished the thought of an extra hour in bed on a Sunday morning when the clocks go back. Until you have children. And not only is that thought a distant memory, but you are now dreading the thought of having an extra early wake up instead!!
Lots of parents ask us how to
deal with the clock change. The answer depends on how old your little one is.
We’ve broken it down into age brackets to help you navigate it:
Guidance by Age
It is completely normal for newborns routine’s to be unpredictable between 0-3 months.
So, when it comes to the clock change, simply pop your little one to sleep a little ‘earlier’ on Sunday night when they seem to be getting tired. It may take your little one a
little longer to fall asleep which is expected as they might not be as tired to start with.
When it comes to older babies, on the Sunday morning after the clock change, try not to rush in as soon as you hear them waking up, because you do not want body clocks to stay on the ‘old time’; but rather adjust to the ‘new time’.
Starting the day at 6am (or even
5am if your little one is already a fairly early riser) is okay now. If s/he normally wakes at 7:00, but is now up at 6:00, especially if s/he is happy, wait 10 minutes before going to him/her on the first day, twenty the next and by the next day it will be 6:30.
By the end of the week your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and s/he should be waking up at their usual hour.
You’ll need to tweak daytime naps too. Stretch your little one’s awake time by 10-15 minutes on day 1, 20-30 minutes on day 2 until around day 4-5 they should be pretty much back on track.
So, if your little one usually wakes at 7am, their ‘new’ wake up time will be
6am. You would then keep them up 15 minutes longer than you would usually, but this will be around 45 minutes ‘earlier’ on the new time.
When it comes to bedtime on the Sunday, you will put them down 15 minutes later (‘new time’) and you can then get in line with the new time on the 4-5th night so your baby is back to going to bed when it would be their usual bedtime.
Toddlers and older children
With children, our advice is to “split the difference.”
If your little one usually goes to bed around 7pm, put them to bed around 6.30pm for the first three days. This will feel like 7.30pm to your child but should avoid too many overtired tantrums at bedtime.
After those three days, move bedtime to the ‘usual’ time of 7pm. It will take about a week for your child’s body to get used to this.
This will work for naps too. If, for example, your little one usually takes a morning nap around 9:30, adjust this to 9:00 for the three days after the time change.
It will be a bit of a push for your little one, but not so much that it will cause much damage to his or her schedule. Do the same for the afternoon nap.
If you have children over the age of two, try a ‘gro clock’ and set the sunrise time to half an hour earlier, for those first three days (just remember to set it back to normal again afterwards). Letting them get up a little earlier than normal for a few days won’t cause a problem and just know that by the end of the week they will be back on track and sleeping until their normal wakeup time.
For all little ones
The darkness at night will help melatonin be produced which can be great for little ones who struggle to sleep a little.
Make sure your little ones get plenty of outside time and daylight during the day, especially in the winter months, as this will really help regulate their circadian rhythms!
It takes everybody’s body roughly one week to adjust any kind of change in sleeping habits so give it time and
know that, with a few tweaks, your little one will get back on schedule in no time!
If these changes are causing you concern, or if they will just add to your little one’s sleep problems, just get in touch!
Little Dreams Business Bio
Jenna Wilson founded Little
Dreams Consulting in 2016 whilst pregnant with her third child. She had been a childcare solicitor for 12 years and, after realising she was no longer in love with the law, she was searching for something where she could still make a difference, whilst being flexible around the needs of her own family.
She trained with Dana Obleman of Sleep Sense and The Sleep Charity UK and has grown her team from 1 to 4 as well as launching an award-winning franchise, which has now worked with over 1000 families, with her now business partner, Fay Smith.
Fay was a mental health social worker who, similarly to Jenna, realised she no longer loved social work after the birth of her second child. Together, they
are on a mission to help as many families as possible across the UK, using evidence-based approaches, with little ones from 4 months to 10 years old get a
better night’s sleep!
Sleep is often controversial subject. Some children find sleep easy whereas others find it trickier. At Little Dreams, we firmly believe that if what you’re doing as a family works for you – and everyone is getting the sleep they need - there is absolutely no need change
However, if you’re finding things hard and perhaps unsustainable for you and your family, we are here to help in any way we can.