West Berkshire Family Life

How to cope with your child's sleep during the clock change

I’m Philly, a mum of three, child sleep consultant and part time teacher. Child sleep has been my passion since having my first daughter 6 years ago. Read my ‘Top Tips for a Goog Night’s Sleep’ blog here.

Most parents do not mind daylight savings so much when they gain an extra hour, but it sends fear through people’s bones when they hear that they are going to have to lose an hour of sleep! Well, it’s that time of year again!

Daylight savings can really impact a child (and an adult’s) internal body clock; their circadian rhythm. In fact, statistically there is an 8% increase in traffic accidents the Monday after Daylight Savings Time kicks in. It really does have an effect on all of us and it can increase our sleep debt — especially in children because their body clocks are much more rigid than ours and are driven by the light – we tend to use the clock time to plan our days.  

But fear not, I am here to guide you through the ‘Spring Forward’ clock change. 😊

For the ‘Spring Forward’ clock change, I’d recommend splitting the difference between that lost hour.

1) On the Sunday morning following the overnight clock change (Sunday 28th March 2021 1am will become 2am), when your child usually wakes at 7am, this will now be 8am – doesn’t sound too bad so far! For nap 1, if their nap time was usually 9:30am, change it to 10:00am (it will feel like 9am to them) and then do the same with the afternoon nap – make it 30 minutes later. It will feel a little early to them so their naps may be shorter, but it’s better for them to adjust this way than push them too quickly or risk them becoming overtired.

2) Bedtime on Day 1 would be 7:30pm (It will feel like 6.30pm to them). During the Spring ‘split the difference’, this will mean that your baby is going to bed a little earlier or sooner than the normal wait between sleeps, but again it’s not so much so that it’s going to interfere with their schedule too much. It may take them a bit more time to fall asleep as they may not be as tired, but in a week’s time, they will be back on track again. This is preferable than going to bed an hour earlier than the time her body clock thinks it is but the adjustment needs to be made to get back on track! 😊

Repeat these timings for 3 days. Remember to change the time on their training clocks so the ‘sun’ or ‘bunny’ wakes up at the right time too!

3) On day and night 4, move to the correct time on the clock again (remembering to adjust their clocks) by ‘splitting the other half’. Daylight savings can be disruptive on your child’s schedule as their bedtimes and naptimes can be habitual but give it time and know that they will eventually get back on schedule within a week, possibly two.

4) Don’t forget the importance of your child’s bedtime routine in supporting them in falling asleep independently. Consistency is even more important during the clock changes, and it is a key time where regressions can start when parents start changing their usual rules and routines. 😊

Enjoy the lovely early Spring mornings.

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