Autumn is here and it brings all the feels for playing in the leaves, finding conkers, the changing seasons and pumpkins. As well as a spiced Latte, it can also bring a bit of anxiety around the inevitable autumn clock change. On Sunday 29th October, the clocks will move back an hour. However, whilst many look forward to an extra hour of sleep – unfortunately children’s body clocks don’t always work that way! We may be a few weeks away, however take a look below to see how you can make it as smooth as possible.
Take a look at the tips below for a smooth transition.
For children who are no longer napping, this is the easiest group to support. Simply “split the difference” between the time they normally go to bed and the “new” clock time. For example if they normally go to bed at 7.30pm, on the day of the clock change, put them to bed at 7pm. Continue this for 3 nights and then let them do to bed at the 7.30 again.
If you think they will be sensitive to the new time, you could change it by 15 minutes every couple of days.
For those with gro clocks (or a similar product), you could also move the sunrise 30 minutes earlier to help their body clock reset, and then use the approach above.
Toddlers and babies over 12 months tend to still need one nap. As with older children, it is a good idea to “split the difference” with both the nap and bedtime. If their nap is currently 12.30pm, let them have it at 12pm for a few days after the clock change. Then move it to 12.30pm again.
Use the same approach for bedtime.
Babies, you will not be surprised to hear, can be the most tricky as they are much more sensitive to the changes in timings.
Continue to use the same awake windows and routine that you have been.
When they wake in the morning, leave them for an extra 10 minutes than you normally would. If they wake at 7am and they are now waking at 6am, you don’t want them to think that 6am is the new wake up time! Increase this to 20 minutes on the 2nd day and then 30 on the third which will take you to 6.30am. As their wake up time naturally gets later, keep adding the time until they reach their normal wake up.
If they struggle to adapt, you may need to push their awake windows slightly to enable them to have slightly later timings so adapt their body clock. Remember not to keep them up really late, this doesn’t equal a lie in!
Fortunately for parents of newborns, who are more than likely to be exhausted – you do not need to do a thing! Newborns tend to have less of a routine, so just let them get on with it!
Other tips for the autumn clock change:
- Stick to your child’s normal bedtime routine. This is the best way for their brain to know it is bedtime.
- Get outside! Sunlight is a natural way to regulate everyone’s circadian rhythm. Ideally go outside in the morning and early afternoon. This helps us to adjust to the new time and promote better sleep at night.
- Create a calm sleep environment. Make sure your baby or child’s sleep environment is calm and quiet. Use blackout curtains to create a dark sleeping environment, and use a white noise machine to drown out any ambient noise (if needed).
It isn’t all bad news! For some, the darker evenings and mornings can bring better sleep for their little ones. It is also a chance for older children to start to understand how the seasons change and autumn is crying out for crafting ideas! Check out some great ideas here.