On Sunday 27 October, 02:00am, clocks go backwards by 1 hour, so we get an extra hours sleep…supposedly. Changing the clocks twice a year, has an affect on us all and can increase our sleep debt. It it especially noticeable in babies, toddlers and young children as they tend to have a structured sleep pattern, going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning.
Split The Difference Routine
Many of you have worked extremely hard to get your baby to sleep through the night. Any disruption to baby’s sleep pattern will be temporary and they will adapt to the new time. The best way to handle them is to use the “Split The Difference” routine.
- Leave the clocks alone on Saturday night! So it’s not psychologically upsetting for you and your family that a big change is underway. Just get up at your usual time and start the day. After your breakfast go around and change the clocks. Everyone will be more relaxed.
- Morning / Afternoon Nap – Keep the same napping frequency but adjust it by 30 minutes for 3 days after the time change. For example if morning nap is 9:30am, you adjust this to 9:00am. If an afternoon nap is 1:00pm you adjust this to 12:30pm.
- Milk and food – Adjust these accordingly.
- Bedtime sleep – Adjust this also by 30 minutes for 3 days after the time change. For example if bedtime sleep is 7:00pm, then put your child to sleep at 6:30pm.
- This will mean that your baby is going to bed a little earlier or sooner than the normal wait between sleeps, but again it’s not so much so that it’s going to interfere with their schedule too much. It may take your baby a bit more time to fall asleep as he/she may not be as tired, but in a week’s time he/she will be back on track again.
- If you have children over the age of two, I would just set the clock forward half an hour so that at 6:30pm, it reads 7:00pm and I would let them get up a little earlier than normal, knowing that by the end of the week, they would be back on track and sleep until their normal wakeup time.
- If you are dealing with a baby, you cannot do that. Do not rush in as soon as you hear your baby waking up, because you do not want to send a message that getting up at 6:00am is acceptable now. So your baby normally wakes at 7:00am, but is now up at 6:00am, you will wait till ten after on the first day, and then twenty after the next, then 6:30am the next day and, by the end of the week, your baby’s schedule should be adjusted to the new time and waking up at their usual hour.
- On the 4th night, get in line with the new time. So your baby is having morning naps, afternoon naps and bedtime sleep at their usual times.
Please do not worry if your child wakes up at the old time in the morning, it can take up to a week to two weeks to establish a new sleep pattern. After all the hard work you have put in, do not fall back in to bad habits. Such as letting your child sleep in bed with you, giving them a dummy or feeding them milk, this will work in short term but will cause problems in the long term.