October 28, 2021
Fall Back: Surviving the Autumn Clock change
It’s that time again! Winter is fast approaching and this not only means the fun of Halloween, Fireworks, and Christmas but also the dreaded clock change! This is something that so many parents worry about, particularly when they have spent so long getting their little people into wonderful sleep routines, only for it to be all thrown up into the air by the clocks going backward.
Panic not! Children and babies, in particular, are very adaptable and seem to adapt very well to changes in the body clock as long as they are managed and, if needed, adjusted gently. There are a few schools of thought when it comes to HOW to support your child with this, so here are our top 3 strategies you can use in the coming days….
- Slowly does it: If your child is under 2 and/or sensitive to a change of routine, then this option could be for you as you will slowly be adjusting your child’s schedule a few days before the clock change. We moving bedtime (and naps and meals if relevant) later by 15 minutes starting from Wednesday 27th October. Here is what these days may look like if you have a 7-7 schedule (please adjust based on your timings if different):
Wednesday 27th October- 7.15 pm bedtime
Thursday 28th October- 7.30 pm bedtime
Friday 29th October- 7.45 bedtime
Saturday 30th October- 8 pm bedtime
Sunday 31st October- Back to 7 pm bedtime
The hope is that your child will also wake up 15 minutes later however, this is determined by their internal clock so may not happen. If it doesn’t, try to keep them in their room and in ‘night time mode’ 15 minutes longer to match their sleep time. To keep everything on track, ensure that you also offer naps and food 15 minutes later on these days too! By Sunday evening, you should be back on track with no further adjustments needed.
- Do nothing. Yes, you heard us right: If your child is over 2 or not particularly sensitive to change, this option may be for you. Immediately following the new time once the clock change, you may get some early waking. If your child historically goes to bed at 7 pm, they may wake at 6 am on the day of the clock change, but this should only take 3 / 4 wake ups for your child to adjust and wake-ups to go back to their normal time
- Finally, you could split the difference: This works well if you have slightly older children that need some help adjusting. You do nothing up to the clock change and then, on the day, you move everything forward by 30 minutes. For the first 3 days after the clock change, move naps, meal times, and bedtimes forward by 30 minutes.
e.g. Nap at 9 becomes 9.30 am
Lunch at 11.30 becomes lunch at 12 pm
Afternoon nap at 12.30 becomes nap at 1 pm
Bedtime at 7 becomes bedtime at 7.30 pm
This gives their internal clock a chance to catch up with the change. By day 3 or 4 you should be able to ease back into your ‘normal’ schedule or routine with minimal stress!
Whatever you choose, when you fall back this October, Rest Assured, we are here to catch you.
Written by Rest Assured’s qualified Sleep Consultant, Cherry Russell.