Just when you thought you’d got your baby into a good sleep pattern – the clocks change! So, how will this change in time affect your little one? Here are some tips from our resident baby sleep expert, Hannah Love, on how you can smooth the transition and change of sleep routine when the clocks change this next week.
"If your baby is waking early and you have worked out that they need a later bed time this is the perfect week to achieve this naturally."
This ‘spring’ forward clock change is the easiest of the two, many parents can actually take advantage of the later bed time and as a result a later wake up time (hopefully!).
It is however very easy to adjust your baby’s day without even realising it, remember that the whole day needs to be kept on old time. Therefore if your baby (prior to Saturday) is going to bed at 7pm, up at 5am, naps at 9am and 1pm then you will (on new time) have a baby that goes to bed at 8pm, up at 6am, naps at 10am and 2pm. If you stick to the old nap times then they will be too tired to make it until the new 8pm bed time and before you know it they will be adjusted onto old time and still waking at 5! The key is always to adjust the whole day.
What if you have a baby that is in a perfect routine for you right now?
Please don’t worry, babies adapt very quickly. Start putting your baby to bed 10 minutes earlier than their normal bedtime for a few days before the clocks change, increasing by an extra 10 minutes each day, so eventually, they are falling asleep half an hour before their usual bedtime. If your baby is quite cooperative, you may decide on a faster adjustment, like 20 minutes per day, so they are asleep the whole hour before their normal bedtime as the clocks change. Gently move their nap and food times to accommodate these new sleep times.
Allow their internal body clock to reset
Take your baby outside first thing in the morning to get some natural light, or if it’s too cold, open the windows. This will help their internal body clock adjust to the time change.
Stick to your daily routine
Keep your bedtime routines the same as normal, despite the times changing. For older toddlers it can be beneficial to do a late afternoon walk or park trip to get rid of some extra energy, add a little tiredness to counteract the earlier bedtimes.
Adjust your own timings
Be sure to adjust the timings of your own routine, the same way as you change your children’s - this will make the transition smoother for everyone.
It may take your little one a few days to adjust to the time change, so don’t be surprised if they need to be woken up for a few days. You may need to be flexible but rest assured that your baby will adapt within a few days. You can find lots more super helpful hints and tips from Hannah over on her Facebook page