Where once the Autumn clock change meant an extra hour in bed recovering from your Saturday night, that extra hour becomes lethal as a parent…
6am wake-ups are just about manageable from your little ones, but having a toddler bright eyed and busy-tailed at 5am is a form of torture.
But don’t panic. There are solutions! You can either hit this head on or do a gradual staged approach, but either way: be prepared and you’ll all glide into the darker months rested and happy.
Out of spring and autumn, autumn is the toughest because you’re asking a child to stay up longer and then wake up later – when a child goes to bed overtired, the first thing you’ll see is early rises which can be a nightmare when the clock is going back as well. Follow one of my strategies below to reduce the risk of any over-tiredness at bedtime and so minimise any pesky early-rising popping up.
If you know that your child will struggle to do a later bedtime or the day of the clock change is looking pretty busy do this gradually.
The Gradual Change
From the Wednesday night before the clock change, push bedtime back each night by fifteen minutes. This means that if their bedtime is 7pm, by Sunday night they’ll be going to bed at 8pm BST, which is the new 7pm.
Alternatively, you could split the difference and simply straddle the clock change:
Splitting the Difference
Push bedtime back by half an hour on Saturday night and another 30 minutes on the Sunday night. So, if bedtime is 7pm, go for 7.30pm on Saturday night and 7pm on Sunday night (8pm in BST).
Or, if you’re feeling bold and your child hasn’t been hitting the trampoline or swimming all day, you could just bite the bullet and go cold turkey.
Have a calm day on Sunday and simply put your child to bed a little earlier than you usually would by the clock – for example: in bed for 6.30pm by the new clock which is 7.30pm BST.
It can take up to a week for your little one to adjust but remain consistent and persistent, and it’ll be pain free.
Is your little one struggling to get enough quality sleep? Book a free fifteen minute sleep evaluation call with me to see how I can help.
Lucy BArker is a certified sleep consultant and mum of two under three based in the beautiful Test Valley. She work with babies from the age of 18 weeks right up to children who are starting school, resolving a whole range of sleep challenges including regular nightwaking, negative sleep associations such as rocking or feeding to sleep, and bedhopping. Lucy decided to retrain after a successful career as a PA after using a sleep consultant to solve her 2 year old son’s sleep problems which were dominating the family's lives. The change she brought to the family once her son was sleeping well was incredible and Lucy knew that she had found the vocation for her.
"Working with families to bring harmony back into their homes is one of the most rewarding things anyone can do – I feel very lucky that this is my job!"