Coping with the Fall Back Clock Change
How will the ‘fall back’ clock change impact my baby as we head towards winter? What are some options to be prepared for the one-hour clock change.
Pre-children we’d all enjoy a lovely extra hour in bed, but parenthood doesn’t come with this guarantee! Parents NEED extra sleep so will happily take advantage of an extra hour in bed. However, our little ones don’t do this and once they are awake it’s time to play! They simply will not fall back to sleep and wake at the new time.
Children don’t read the clock and think, “aaah, another hour in bed…” and instead will wake at exactly the same time they woke the day before, so if their normal wake time is, say 6:30 am then you’ll have the joy of a 5:30 am wake up. No fun at all!
The good news is that we can prepare for this shift in time and help to avoid a scarily early start to the day.
There are a couple of options; you either don’t do anything until the clocks go back and then have a few days until your child’s body readjusts. It usually takes up to a week for children and babies to completely adjust to the new time.
Option two is that you start to push timings forward in the week before the time change so that your child’s circadian rhythm can adjust and be in the right place when the clocks move.
So, for example, if bedtime is normally 7:00pm, you should move bedtime 15 minutes later every few nights until you reach the normal time again. So, for the first couple of nights you would put your child down at 7:15pm, then 7:30 pm, then 7:45pm and by the end of the week bedtime should be at 8:00pm.
Once the time has changed you simply move to the new time. Easy peasy!
In general younger children are more affected by the time change than older children, so if you have a young baby I would absolutely recommend you start to push the routine forward and you can even do this in smaller increments of 5-10 minutes.