The time changes in autumn can raise some questions from parents in terms of how to manage the time change with regards to their child’s sleep routine. I hope this article helps address any concerns you have and help you to navigate the clock change with ease.
The daylight saving time change comes into effect with clocks going back (fall back) by 1 hour on Sunday, 29th October at 2 am.
There are three main strategies I recommend for this time change, and the approach you take will largely depend on your little ones current wake time, how sensitive they are to changes in their nap and bedtime and your own preferences.
Option 1) Do nothing. This is a good option if your child is currently waking at 7am/7:30am and they aren’t very sensitive to a slightly earlier/later bedtime. They should adjust to the time change after Sunday in a matter of days once you keep your consistent sleep schedule adapted to the time change. Our bodies thrive on routine and consistency.
Option 2) Split the difference. In cases where your child currently wakes at 6:30am or earlier and if they are sensitive to a slightly earlier/later bedtime this is a good option if they are 18 months plus. This approach involves starting on the Friday in advance (27th October), moving the nap start time to 20 minutes later and the same with bedtime. Again on the Saturday, pushing the nap and bedtime a further 20 minutes later. How would this look? Here is a worked example;
Option 3) Adjust gradually. Where your child currently wakes at 6:30am or earlier and if they are sensitive to a slightly earlier/later bedtime and are under 18 months, this is a good option. This approach involves starting on the Wednesday in advance (25th October), moving the nap start time to 10 minutes later and the same with bedtime. Again on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday, pushing the nap and bedtime a further 10 minutes later each day. How would this look? Here is a worked example;
Exposure to daylight in the morning is helpful in helping the body clock adapt to the time change. It can be useful to get out into the fresh air in the early mornings especially for the first couple of weeks. Whatever approach you pick – with patience and consistency you should get back on track within a week or so.
Best of luck!
Certified Child Sleep Consultant, Parent Coach, and owner of Phoenix Dreams
Colette who is a busy mum of 2, specialises in working with children from the newborn stage through to 10 years of age. She is one of the only experts in both Child Sleep and Behaviour in Ireland, having built up a strong reputation in Ireland and abroad with new and repeat clients.