It’s nearly that time again; on Sunday 25th October 2020, the clocks will be going back an hour, so I’ve invited Boogie from Sleep Dreams Baby Sleep Consulting to help us avoid the otherwise inevitable sleep dramas with our children.
When I think about autumn, I think colourful leaves, hot chocolate with marshmallows and cosy long evenings with a good book in my hands. And then there is the autumn time change which means an extra hour’s sleep on a Sunday. Well, as much as this beautiful picture may once have been true, nowadays, it is one of those things that parents (including me) dread, as changing times means changing our children’s sleep schedules. However inconvenient as it may sound, it is not actually as bad as we may think; our bodies, and that of our children, get used to this change pretty quickly. However, I’m going to give you two options that you can use to prepare for the clock change.
Option number 1 (Go with the flow):
This method is suggested for parents of children who are pretty adaptable and flexible when it comes to the schedule changes.
On Sunday, when we move clocks, you treat everything as normal. It’s most likely your child will wake up an hour earlier than usual, so take that into consideration when planning your bedtime on Saturday. It only takes children a few days to adjust to the new time.
Option number 2 (Prepare in advance):
If you have a very sensitive child who gets super alert whenever there is a change to his schedule, then I’d advise you to change his schedule slowly. You may start the preparation a few days before the actual change. Here is how you do it:
- On the 1st day of preparation, move the entire child’s schedule 15 minutes later. This means, wake her up 15 min later, move her feeds and mealtimes 15 min later and put her down for naps and bedtime 15 min later, e.g. if she normally wakes up at 7am, then try not to start the day till 7:15am; if her bedtime is at 7pm, then put her down at 7:15pm. Work your way forward, adjusting the entire schedule every day by 15 min. On the day of time change, she will be ready to start the day at 7am new time.
Whatever option you choose, here are some other things to remember when we switch to winter time:
- To help your child resetting his internal clock and adjusting his circadian rhythms make sure that you spend lots of time outside where your child is exposed to the natural light.
- Because the body reacts to light and darkness it’s important that, once bedtime is approaching, you start to dim lights and draw your curtains and blinds.
- Avoid screen time at least two hours before bed as the light coming from devices such as iPads, mobile phones, TVs and computer screens intervene with melatonin production.
- Turn the white noise on. It’s great for masking any noise that may wake your little one.
- A toddler clock can be a very useful tool to use. Remember to adjust the timing for wake-ups accordingly and don’t start the day until the clock comes on.
All of the ideas on how to deal with time change you can use for your child and for yourself. Don’t forget, your body also needs to adjust to the new time, so take it all into account when preparing for the autumn time change. Sleep well.
Boguslawa Kucharska-Hodgkins (aka Boogie) is a certified sleep consultant and a founder of Sleep Dreams Baby. She works with tired parents and their babies to put all sleep issues behind them. She advises parents in both English and Polish language. Find out more here.