Yes, it’s nearly that time of the year again already. We’re well and truly into Autumn and the clocks are about to go back on 25th October.
A few years ago Daylight Saving was a Brucey Bonus for me, as it would’ve meant an extra hour out clubbing and an extra, delicious hour in bed in the morning. But for those of us with young children, we recite the phrase ‘Spring Forward, Fall Back’ to remember which way round it is (I can never remember!) and groan when we realise that it’s fall back and one of our sacred hours of sleep is stolen from us.
For those with early risers, this will probably hurt the most. A do-able 6am start suddenly turns into 5am which is definitely not so do-able.
Whatever time your child wakes in the morning they are going to be affected so I’ve put together some strategies that can help smooth the transition.
1. Do nothing
This is a ‘cold turkey’ approach where you wake up on the Sunday morning, adjust all your clocks and start your child’s routine 1 hour later immediately: Naps start 1 hour later and the same for bedtime.
2. Adjust their routine in advance
Starting on the Monday or Tuesday before the change, start to slowly shift their schedule 10 or 15 minutes later each day so that by the time you hit Sunday and you’ve lost the hour, naps and bedtime will be the same as what it was the previous Sunday.
e.g. Usual bedtime 7:00pm
Sun 7:00pm (after Daylight Saving)
Remember that you will need to make the same adjustment to naps and mealtimes.
Unfortunately, moving the bedtime later doesn’t necessarily mean that the wake up time will adjust immediately as well, it can lag behind a few days but that is normal so remain consistent.
3. Begin to phase the routine adjustment
The same as strategy #2 but starting 3 days in advance.
e.g. Usual bedtime 7:00pm
Sun 6:30pm (after Daylight Saving)
Which method you go for is really down to the personality of your child and your personal circumstances. If your child is fairly easy going and adaptable then you can just go with the flow with strategy #1.
If they’re not so adaptable then it is probably better for everyone to make the change gradually using strategies #2 or #3.
More than one child to consider? Go with the strategy that will work for the least adaptable child.
Working parents? I would go for either strategy #2 or #3 and avoid an early morning Monday shocker!
Early Risers. Anything from 6:00am is considered ‘normal’ waking but I hear from lots of parents whose children consistently wake up before this time. You guys definitely want to start making the adjustment early and I would suggest strategy #2.
Night waker. If your child wakes at night when you feel they should be sleeping through, then it’s likely that they’re overtired. Adopting a gentle phasing strategy is best, we don’t to make a bad situation worse.
What else can I do?
Expect a bumpy road for a week or two and try not to get frustrated.
Adjust your bedtime. If you expect some early mornings then get yourself in bed earlier so you’re tired and irritable in the morning.
Keep a watch out for signs that your little one is getting overtired and make sure they are getting good quality daytime naps. Naps are really important through this transition (well actually they’re important ALL the time but that’s another topic!).
Give their circadian rhythm a helping hand to adjust by keeping the bedroom nice and dark during ‘night time’ and then exposure to daylight immediately at the desired ‘wake up’ time.
Good luck with the transition and if you find that you just can’t shake those dawn starts, then get in contact and let me show you how to get to that elusive 7:00am.
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