Preparing for the ‘spring forward’ clock change.

Just as you thought you’d finally cracked your little one’s routine, another spanner is thrown into the works – this time, a clock change! In the UK, on the 26th March at 1am, the clocks will ‘spring’ forward an hour. While this can be a positive for parents of early risers (hello, 7am wake up!), it also means putting your active little one to bed a whole hour earlier. There’s always a catch! To help make this change as quick and easy as possible, I’ve put together a few tips and tricks.

There are a few ways of handling the clock change:

Do nothing:

This is a great option if your little one has been consistently waking up early (pre-6am) for a long period of time. You could just stick with the new timings, meaning your little one now wakes closer to 6am than 5am. 

Go ‘Cold Turkey’:

If your child is quite adaptable, you could just make the change in one fell swoop. Wake them at their usual time on the morning of the clock change, and immediately change to the new time – adjusting nap, meal and bed times. 

Split the difference:

The night before the clock change, put your little one to bed half an hour earlier. In theory, this should be the little tweak that will help them get closer to the ‘new time’. 

Gradual change:

If you have a little one on quite a regular schedule or who is particularly sensitive to routine changes, I highly recommend preparing in advance. This means bringing bedtime forward by 15 minutes each day for the few days in the lead up to the clock change. You will also need to adjust the rest of their schedule by the same amount of time.

The option you choose will have a lot to do with your little one’s age, temperament and current routine.

As you make the change to the new time, there are a number of things you can do to encourage your little one’s internal clock to reset:

Plenty of fresh air and natural light:

Light plays an important part in controlling our internal body clocks. So, on the day of the clock change (and beyond), spend a little extra time outside during the day for a boost of fresh air and natural light.

Keep them active:

Especially if you’re going ‘cold turkey’ or have little ones with bags of energy, it may help to have more active days leading up to the clock change so they are ready to settle earlier in the evening. 

Adjust the rest of their routine, not just sleep:

Remember, whatever adjustments you make to their bedtime schedule should also be made to their nap and meal times. So, if bedtime is brought forward by 15 minutes, so should nap and meal times. 

Use black out blinds:

As the evenings begin to get lighter, it would be worth considering black out blinds for your little one’s bedroom windows. These will also come in handy for when the mornings become lighter. Light stimulates melatonin production, so block it out in the morning to prevent early risings. 

For toddlers, use a sleep clock:

For older babies and children, use a sleep clock. This will make it easier for your little one to understand and follow the new schedule. Just remember to adjust the time on the night of the clock change (unless it automatically does this for you!). 

Continue your calming bedtime routine:

Stick to your same bedtime routine during the transition to get your little one’s body ready for sleep. Aim to be calm and consistent. The familiarity will help them adjust to the change. 

Be patient, and kind to yourself:

It may take your little one a few days to adjust to the time change, so don’t be surprised if they are a little restless or out of sorts for a few days. Whilst you wait for this adjustment, be kind to yourself. Make sure you get plenty of rest and don’t worry if things aren’t ‘perfect’ for a while. You may need to be flexible but, rest assured, your little one will adapt within a few days and everything should be back to normal. 

Want more support with your little one’s sleep?:

If you are struggling with your little one’s sleep, and would like my support and guidance, get in touch and book a free Discovery Call