Did you know the clocks are changing in a few short weeks? I obviously keep an eye on it, but I’m always surprised at how quickly it comes around! In many ways changing falling back is a really lovely way of knowing that we are fully in autumn and we’re heading towards winter and the bonus is that we have darker night times and mornings which can really help with settling your child and getting them to sleep for longer. However often people are worried, are they going to wake up even earlier?
So to help you out here are my top 5 tips to survive the clocks changing! As with most things I talk about I try to keep it nice and simple and fairly easy to implement:
1) Don’t act to quickly!: Delay changing the clocks in your house until the morning of the clock change, that way you can start the day as per normal know that you have a plan for the rest of the day.
2) Make bedtime earlier: From the date of the time change put your child to bed 30 mins earlier than normal so 6:30pm rather than 7pm. Continue this for the next 3 days and then on the 4th night switch back to 7pm as they should by then have switched to the new time.
3) Don’t forget the naps: If your child is napping do the same, just put each nap 30 mins early than normal for 3 days and then revert back, you might want to let them nap for 30 mins longer if you are able to get them to last that little bit longer in the day for the first 2-3 days.
4) If you have children over the age of two, you can put a digital clock in the room and put a piece of tape over the minutes, so that they can see if it is 6 o’clock or 7 o’clock, but they cannot see the minutes, which often confuses toddlers. Just set the clock forward half an hour so that at 6:30 it says 7:00 and let them get up a little earlier than normal, then each day change the time by 10 mins, knowing that, by the end of the week they will be back on track and sleep until their normal wakeup time. If they do wake up and cry out go to them but don’t let them get up until the 7 appears.
5) If you are dealing with a baby, you cannot do that. Do not rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up, because you do not want to send a message that getting up at 6 a.m. is okay now. So if she normally wakes at 7:00, but is now up at 6:00, you will wait till ten after the first day, and then twenty after the next, then 6:30 the next day and, by the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual hour. If your baby is crying at this time you can obviously go into them but don’t get them up for the day until the later time to help the body clock adjust.
I often find that parents often dread this time of year, but if you follow this plan, your child’s sleep and yours shouldn’t be interrupted too much. Remember that any upsets should be temporary and he change in the clocks should take no longer than a week to settle down.
So there you have it, if you follow these tips you should eliminate that dread creeping in and transfer into fall easily!
Kate is a Certified Children’s Sleep consultant and member of the Association of Professional Sleep Consultants. She dedicates her time to helping families understand and improve their children's sleep in a holistic way that works for them (not crying it out!) and gets the whole family sleeping better! She has helped over 500 families improve their sleep and prides herself on a personable and caring approach. Kate is passionate about sleep education and has been featured in national broadcast and publications as well as her own media channels to help spread the word.