Like we don’t have enough to contend with on the baby and child sleep front without clock changes being thrown into the mix. You may have just gotten on top of the Autumn clock change and now we are facing into another one at 1 am on Sunday, March 31st.
I refer to this clock change as the Spring Forward Clock Change. Out of the two clock changes that happen each year, this is the one that is to be feared the least! In fact, if you have an early riser in the house this could be the clock change of your prayers as 5 am starts can become a 6 am start after the change!
For me there are three routes you can take when it comes preparing for this clock change;
Route 1 – Do nothing! If you are consistent and jump into the change then your child should adjust. If you have an already settled sleeper then this could be the option for you. Stick to their routine and things will fall back into place within a few days – just remain consistent and don’t allow any new settling habits to form.
Route 2 – Split the difference. On the morning of the change (Sunday, March 31st) wake your child 30 minutes earlier. So if the morning is normally 7 am then wake them at 6.30 am – urrrggghh I know! Do the same with naps through the day starting them 30 mins earlier than you normally would. Then bedtime would also be 30 mins earlier. Then over the coming few days start adjusting to a new time by 10 minutes every few days – then you will be in new time before the week is out.
Route 3 – Tweak the timings. With this option, you work on adjusting their body clock a few days out from the change. In the week leading into the clock-change put them to bed 10 minutes earlier each night.
So if your child goes to bed at 7 pm you will adjust this to 6.50 on night 1, 6.40 on night 2, 6. 30 on night 3 and so on until you reach 6 pm on the night that the clock change is going to take place. You will need to adjust morning wakes ups in the same way and also nap timings. The logic is that once you get to the change your baby or child will have adjusted to the new time ahead of the change.
One of the most important factors when it comes to sleep is room darkness. A dark sleep environment will support the production of melatonin (the sleepy hormone) and thus help support the initiation and maintained of sleep. If you have lots of light coming into your child’s sleep environment then their sleep will not be as well supported. With that in mind, this clock change brings with it super bright mornings from 5 am and lovely long evenings with 7 pm becoming a bright time of the day! As such I would encourage you to use my ‘black bag trick’ to darken your child’s room as much as possible or invest in good quality blackout blinds and heavily lined curtains.
Once you stick to your routine and keep things as settled as possible for your child you should get through this clock change without too much trouble. If the wheels do come off the bus for a day or two, don’t panic. Simply do your best to stay true to your routine and how sleep is approached in your household and things will return to normal.