Spring Forward – Prepare your baby/child for the clock change
Are you freaking out about the clocks going forward at the end of the month?
At least it’s not on “Mothers Day” this year, which always seemed particularly cruel to me.
What with everything going on around the world with the coronavirus, it is important to recognise that sleep matters and is vital to help our immune systems stay strong.
So how will “Daylight Saving Time” affect you and your baby/child’s sleep schedule?
Well, the good news is that for many of you, this springtime transition can be a bonus. Your baby who was once waking at 6 am, will now be waking at 7 am! That sounds much better, doesn’t it!
However, for others, it can be a big problem, as even a small time change of 1 hour can affect your baby’s circadian rhythms (physical, mental and behavioural changes that follow a 24-hour cycle), setting them off track and throwing out their body clock.
For those children, I always think that it is best to be prepared!
Below are my top tips on how to transition:-
Babies/Child who sleeps in the daytime – The Quick Approach
Saturday 28th March
- Begin with the first nap, by putting them down 15 mins early.
- Bring feeds/lunch forward and all other activities by 15 mins
- Second nap by another 15 mins. ( you are now 30 mins ahead).
- Take them out for some fresh air and exercise on Saturday afternoon.
- Late afternoon feeds/meals are now 30 mins early
- Begin the bedtime routine 30 minutes earlier than normal
- Put them to bed 30 mins early.
Go to bed an hour early yourselves so that you don’t miss out on a full nights sleep.
Sunday 29th March
Depending on what time your child wakes up, you may or may not need to carry on with the schedule.
If they wake up and start their day at the new time automatically, then you are sorted and can carry on with your normal routine.
If there is still some adjustments to make, then beginning 30 mins earlier than normal, repeat the schedule from Saturday by adjusting the two naps for 15 mins each.
Take them out for some fresh air and exercise on Sunday afternoon and put them to bed at the new time (you have now brought their sleep forward by 1 hour).
Children who don’t sleep in the daytime – The slow approach
Spread the change in sleep times over 4 days by bringing the bedtime routine forward by 15 minutes each day.
If your child is school age, you can begin on Friday evening, and this will have less disruption by Monday morning.
All screens including the tv should be switched off at least one hour before the bedtime routine begins.
Change the clocks in your child’s room on Friday and move it forward by 15 mins each night, so your child assumes that bedtime is the same time as always.
Children who don’t seem affected by the change – The No Hassle approach
If your child is not overly sleep sensitive, they may slip into the new times with no issues whatsoever.
In this case, you can just go straight into the “Cold Turkey” approach and put your child to bed one hour earlier than they went the day before. You could do this on Saturday or Sunday night.
Any approach you take should be done calmly and without overly worrying. Whatever you do, be consistent and relaxed in order to transition your child through this “Daylight Savings” clock change with no fuss.
Photo by Little Beanies Photography