Clocks Going Forward – How To Adapt Your Baby’s Routine

20 Mar 2022

Worried about the clocks going forward?

Below I take you through my 3 key approaches to make this change as  smooth as possible:

 

Yes, you heard it right. Its Mother’s Day and you’re going to lose an hour’s sleep. It doesn’t get more ironic than that! Once you are over the shock, you might start to think about how the clock change might impact your child’s routine. Will the clocks going forward affect your baby’s sleep? Will you toddler miss out on an hour’s sleep and make them (even more!) super grumpy?

Here are some strategies to help you navigate the clock change.  

How Will The Clock Change Impact My Baby’s Routine? 

Firstly, have a think about how sensitive your little one is to a change in their routine. If your little one’s routine goes off track, do they get grumpy and tired quickly? Or do they adapt really quickly when you go on holiday abroad or when they stay up later than normal? If they are sensitive to change, then you might want to think about a progressive approach over a few days to the clocks going forward one hour. If not, you can simply do nothing or go a bit more ‘crash course’. The approaches are discussed below.  

Clocks Going Forward: The Progressive Approach

This approach is suited to children that need a more gradual lead up to the clock change. Essentially, you are going to make incremental changes to their routine a few days before the day the clocks go forward so their routine isn’t moving by 1 hour in a single day. It’s easier to explain it using an example – see below. The routine is based on a 7am-7pm routine but just adjust it for your child’s bedtime:

  • On the Wednesday night before the clock change, start to adjust your little one’s bedtime by putting them to bed 10mins earlier than usual.
  • Repeat this 10mins adjustment on both Thursday and Friday so that on Friday night, your child’s bedtime is 30mins earlier than normal, i.e. 6.30pm.
  • If your little one naps in the day, also move the naps by 10mins each day.
  • If they wake a little later in the mornings, that is great. That’s the idea.
  • On the Saturday before the clock change, try to put them to bed 1 hour before their normal bedtime routine, i.e. 6pm.
  • On Sunday morning, the plan would be for them to wake around 7am with the clock change.
  • On Sunday, follow your existing routine and put your little one down at the normal routine time. 

Clocks Going Forward: The ‘Crash Course’ Approach

This approach is suited to children that aren’t massively impacted by a change in their routine. Again, I’ll explain it using an example on a 7am-7pm routine, but do adjust it for your child’s bedtime:

  • Continue with your normal routine until the Saturday before the clocks change.
  • On the Saturday night, try to put your little one to bed a full hour before their bedtime. If they aren’t looking tired, keep them up until 30 mins before their normal bedtime. If they have a good bedtime routine in place, this series of steps can make them feel sleepy and wind them down.
  • Don’t worry if they chat to themselves in bed until their normal bedtime. They are still having ‘quiet time’ in bed with is restorative in itself.
  • Be mindful of naps if your little one is still having them. You might have to cut their afternoon nap short – or remove a nap – to ensure they are tired enough at bedtime.
  • Wake them at 7am, or if they didn’t get to sleep until their normal bedtime then leave them until 7:30am.
  • Over the next couple of days, they should re-adjust to waking at 7am. 

Clocks Going Forward: The ‘Hardcore’ Baby

Or simply do nothing and don’t stress yourself over it! Some babies are super flexible and the one-hour change doesn’t impact them.

Pick the approach that best suits your little one. My children always fall into the “crash course” approach and have coped well. Always be led by your child.

I am the first male baby and toddler sleep consultant in the UK and Ireland and I specialise in gentle sleep training. I work with families on a one-to-one basis to design bespoke sleep training programmes that work around their lifestyle and little ones needs. I also have a series of age specific online courses starting from £29 that you can follow at your own pace. Come over and follow me on Instagram for lots of tips and strategies for better sleep.