Hints and tips to managing your baby’s sleep during the clock change

Spring is on its way; we’ve all noticed the lighter mornings and evenings, the slight warmth in the sun’s rays on sunny days, the spring flowers brightening flowerbeds. So it’s no surprise that this month the clocks spring forward an hour.

If your little angel is an early riser you will probably be looking forward to the clocks changing as you will no doubt welcome a little bit of extra sleep. However what is given with one hand is taken with the other, as your clockwork bedtime routine may hit a few snags with the time being pushed back slightly as your baby’s body clock adjusts.

Most, if not all parents, work very hard to establish a morning and evening routine which works for their family. If your baby has just started to sleep through the night you may be worried that all your hard work will unravel.

Firstly don’t panic! Any disruption caused by the clocks changing will be a temporary blip and your baby will naturally adjust to the new time.

If you do want to manage the situation a little with the hope of minimising the disruption to your baby’s sleep, we have some helpful hints and tips:

  • In the week prior to the clocks changing, start to put your baby to bed 10 minutes earlier than usual, and increase it each night until they are going to sleep approximately an hour earlier than their normal bed time.
  • Don’t worry if at first they still wake at the same time in the morning; it is totally understandable for it to take a few days for their body clocks to adjust. If this happens try to relax and enjoy the extra rest.
  • Remember to tweak your napping schedule. For example, if your child usually wakes at 6am and naps at 9am, instead of keeping strictly to the 9am nap time, try to instead maintain the 3 hour gap between naps.
  • The clocks spring forward in the early hours of Sunday morning. During the day before, allow your baby to have an energetic day including lots of fresh air and exercise. Maybe a trip to the park, a visit to feed the ducks or fun in the garden, but make sure they expend their energy. This won’t guarantee that they’ll settle to sleep earlier but it’s giving them a helping hand.
  • Unless it is very important to get onto the new time schedule very quickly, you should listen to the age old advice to ‘never wake a sleeping baby.’  It’s much better to allow them to wake up naturally when they’re ready. 
  • If in the run up to the time change, you’ll have gradually changed a 7pm bedtime to 6pm, once the clocks have changed that will become 7pm again. So don’t get too used to the quieter evenings as usual service will be resumed soon enough. 
  • As part of your routine it’s nice to open your baby’s curtains or blinds before getting them out of the cot in the morning. This is a great way to signify the start of their day! It can also be a lovely way to start your day, especially on bright sunny spring mornings.

If the period of adjustment takes a little longer than you would hope, remember that ‘this too will pass.’ You routine and perseverance will pay off and your baby will get back in sync again. 

On the whole, summer time is good for babies’ sleep. Extra time spent outside in the fresh air and opportunities to experience and learn more about the natural world around them will often tire out little bodies and minds.