How to Prepare for the clocks going back

It’s that time again the clocks are going back an hour on 30th October. Winter has arrived, the days will be shorter but at least it will be dark now when your child goes to bed and possibly when they wake up!

First of all, don’t panic this doesn’t have to mean everything will be thrown off. With a little bit of planning and preparation it doesn’t have to cause any issues with your child’s sleep.

Our circadian rhythms are set by food, light and social interaction. By altering these gradually before the change we can adjust things. We will adjust naturally within about a week after the change as well. Which means, you don't actually have to do anything BUT being prepared means you don’t risk a bad situation getting worse.

To plan ahead and be proactive follow these steps a week before clock change day. 

Move everything back by 15 minutes every day or 2 until they have moved an hour backwards over a week as follows.

 

Monday

Wake them up 15 minutes later.

Offer feeds and naps 15mins later than usual.

Bed time push back 15 minutes later than usual.

Tuesday

Same as Monday.

Same as Monday.

Same as Monday.

Wednesday

Wake them up 30 minutes later.

Offer feeds and naps 30 minutes later than usual.

Bed time 30 minutes later than usual.

Thursday

Same as Wednesday.

Same as Wednesday.

Same as Wednesday.

Friday

Wake them up 45 minutes later.

Offer naps and feeds 45 minutes earlier than usual.

Bed time 45 minutes earlier.

Saturday

Same as Friday.

Same as Friday.

Same as Friday.

Sunday

7am wake up (old 8am).

Nap and feed times now shifted onto the new clock change time.

7pm bed time again (8pm old time).

 

Don’t worry if your child wakes up before you can wake them, as you push naps and bedtime out they should start sleeping in longer the following morning.

Babies 0 – 5 months

For this age group, many babies won’t have settled onto a strict nap schedule yet so keep focusing on awake windows. If you don’t know what their awake windows are you can download my free guide here.

Babies 6 – 12 months

Babies body clock rhythms are set by food, light and social interaction so moving these is how we adjust their schedule. Lots of exposure to natural light in the day will help them to be tired for naps and bedtime.

Give extra snacks in the day to help push meal times out slightly, this will also help them to get a little more energy to push through to a later bedtime.

Toddlers and older kids

Focus on lots of physical activity for this group to try and tire them out through the day. Start the wind down a little sooner than you normally would to get into the groove of sleepiness and use a reward chart to encourage them to stay in bed a little later in the morning.

Gro clocks are really good for encouraging them to stay in bed in the early hours as well, if they are too young to understand a Gro clock, this clock is great for under 3s check it out here.

Conclusion

Try not to stress too much, if all else fails just give yourself a couple of weeks to get back on track. Eventually we do all adjust but it’s just about being patient and consistent.

The most important thing is trying to set a bedtime that is age appropriate. You don’t want it to be too late that they become overtired the next day but equally you don’t want to be putting them to bed early to the point where they are lying in bed wide awake for an hour.

Good luck and if this all seems like too much and your already tricky sleep problems become exasperated by the clock change, you can check out the ways to work with me here.