In the UK, the clocks will go back one hour at the end of October and forward again in March – “spring forward, fall back”. Who doesn’t love an extra hour in bed on a weekend? Children! That’s who! Before becoming a parent, this meant more time to snuggle under the duvet – however, now it means being up for the day at 5am – No thank you!
It is worth preparing in advance for the clock change to aim to avoid this unnecessarily early morning on a weekend.
If you can get ahead of the change, it is great to make small, daily changes to your little ones routine. For example, if they usually nap at 12.30pm, shift this to 12.45pm on the Wednesday before the change, then to 1pm on Thursday, 1.15pm on Friday and then by Saturday they in the right place.
This is of course the same for bedtime, e.g. If they usually go to bed at 7pm, push it back by 15 minutes each day from the middle of the week. E.g. Wednesday 7.15pm, Thursday 7.30pm Friday 7.45pm, Saturday 8pm – this way, they are adjusted to the new time in advance.
If you do this, you should avoid one big change to your child’s wake up time and they should, in theory wake at their usual time without even noticing the clock change.
As we know, babies and toddlers are unpredictable so this will not ensure a definite late wake on the day of the change, it will however, ensure their body is adjusted gradually rather than all in one go which will help them to settle into the new routine.
If the time has crept up on you or all of this seems too complicated, some other techniques can help your child to adjust. One option is to put them to bed 30 minutes later the night before the change or you can keep your routine the same and move everything on the day of the change in line with the new times, it may just mean facing some early wakes that week.
Like us, their internal clock will take a little time to adjust but they will catch up before you know it. Keep a consistent routine where possible to get their circadian cycle back on track. Remember to keep sleeping environments dark and get lots of natural light during the day/playtime. If you really want the extra hour to be guaranteed, get some self-care in and give yourself an early night – you deserve it after all.