“Will the baby wake up even earlier?”

This is probably the most-asked question amongst sleep-deprived parents just about now. On Sunday 25 October, the clocks will turn back one hour. Simple enough. But when it comes to children’s sleep, nothing is as straightforward as it seems. We have heard parents worried about the impact on their child’s sleeping schedule, and the prospect of losing that precious hour of sleep themselves. We asked Maryanne Taylor, WellVine sleep consultant for some tried-and-tested tips to guide parents and children through the clock change. She covers everything from sleeping schedule adjustments, to activity and nap-time hacks.

Pre-clock change

  • Starting this Monday (19 October) put your child to bed 15 minutes later than normal at bedtime as well as at nap time.
  • Keep moving bedtime and nap times 15 minutes later every few days until you get to the hour later.
  • This will help them adapt gradually to the hour change.

At clock change

  • If you have already done the pre-clock changes above, your child’s bedtime and nap time will be on the later hour schedule already. Even if you have not done the pre-clock changes, from next Monday (26 October), switch immediately to the new time for bedtime and naptime. For example, if you used to put your child down for a nap at 9 a.m., on Monday 26 October, put your child down at 9 a.m. (new time).
  • Ensure your child has playtime outside in the afternoon as natural light triggers the production of the sleep hormone.
  • Don’t be tempted to let your child start their day earlier than 6 a.m. (new time).
  • Schedule the day’s activities so your child does not get overtired.
  • As with all elements of encouraging good sleep habits, staying consistent is the key.
  • Most of all don’t panic! Your child may wake up a little earlier or later for a few days but it does not take long for children to adjust to the new time.

Note that any disruption in your child’s sleep as a result of the clock change is likely to be temporary – this too shall pass! Children will naturally adapt to the time change over a few days, but the tips above will help ease the transition process.

By Maryanne Taylor, WellVine

Maryanne Taylor is one of WellVine’s highly experienced sleep consultants. As well as helping families directly, Maryanne gives many sleep workshops to groups and companies; runs Facebook sleep clinics for Bounty and other brands; has a regular slot on a BBC radio phone in show; and has appeared in a recent Channel 4 show.

You can also book a child sleep consultation with Maryanne or any of WellVine’s sleep consultants here.