How to manage your child's sleep routine when the clocks go forward
Losing an hour at the Spring clock change can send your baby's precious sleep routine all over the shop. Here, sleep experts explain the 6 key ways to help your baby adjust with barely a yawn...
It's coming up to that weekend when you lose an hour as the clocks go forward one hour in March.
And this Spring clock change – on March 26 2023– can (aargh!) disrupt your baby's carefully nurtured sleep routine.
In order to overcome this sleep hurdle, we spoke to the people at The Sleep Charity (formerly The Sleep Council) who train sleep practitioners and campaign for better-quality information about sleep. They recommend these 6 simple baby-sleep adjustment techniques...
6 easy steps to take to help your child adjust to the clocks going forward
- Get ahead by bring bedtime by 30 mins or so each day for 2 days before the actual clock-change day. So, on the Friday evening, make bedtime half an hour earlier than usual. Then Saturday evening, make it another half an hour earlier and – ta da! – you're already working to the new time.
- Bring naps and mealtimes forward. If you're altering bedtime as in Step 1, naps and mealtimes will need to fall in line, too.
- Spend time outside. Light plays an important part in controlling your baby's internal body clock (and yours, too). Try spending a little extra time outside during the day for a boost of natural light. And if, post-change, your baby is struggling to wake up in the morning, draw the curtains and make sure the room gets lots of natural light.
- Fit blackout blinds or dense curtains and use them when your baby's going down at night or for a nap to help create a darker, night-time environment, even if it's light outside.
- Up the exercise. Play games with your baby – on the activity mat or crawling around the floor, depending on their age and stage – so they'll feel more physically ready for sleep. But don't totally wear them out as completely over-tired children can – strange as it sounds– actually be harder to get to sleep.
- Keep the bedroom peaceful. Make sure the place where your baby sleeps at night is cool, quiet and dark.
Whatever you do, don't radically change your child's bedtime routine. According to the Sleep Charity spokespersson, "Children with good sleep routines tend to cope better with the changes in time as they know what to expect at the end of the day, even if the actual timings are slightly altered."
And remember: even if it takes a few days, your baby will soon naturally settle back into a routine. Until the clocks change again in October...
Pics: Getty Images
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