How to manage your child’s sleep routine when the clocks go forward

OK, we lose an hour but trying telling that to a baby or toddler. So we've got sleep experts to explain the best ways to get your baby or child adapting to the changing clocks

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It’s coming up to that weekend when you lose an hour – as the clocks go forward one hour in March.

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And this means, arggh, it can affect your baby’s carefully nurtured sleep routine.

In order to overcome this sleep hurdle, we spoke to The Sleep Council, which recommends these techniques:

  1. Try altering bedtime by just half an hour on the first evening, eg Saturday evening – so it’s half an hour earlier than usual. Then adjust bedtime by another half hour on Sunday evening – so you’re working to the ‘new time’.
  2. If you’re altering bedtime, naps and mealtimes will need to fall in line too. Make them slightly earlier to suit your new routine.
  3. Light plays an important part in controlling our internal body clocks. Try spending a little extra time outside during the day for a boost of fresh air and natural light. If your baby is struggling to wake up in the morning, make sure the room gets lots of natural light.
  4. Using black out blinds or dense curtains helps create a darker, nighttime environment at an earlier time.
  5. Do a bit of extra exercise with your baby – like playing games outside – so she’ll sleep well, but don’t totally wear her out as over-tired children are harder to get to sleep.
  6. Ensure the bedroom environment is good for sleepcool, quiet and dark with a bed that is comfortable and supportive.

The important thing to remember is to keep your child’s sleep routine as similar as possible. The Sleep Council says that “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” – ie. your normal, if slightly altered with timings, bedtime routine.

Making little rather than large changes tends to work best. Remember, even if it takes a few days, your baby will naturally settle back into a routine.

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