How to make sure the clock change won’t affect baby’s sleep
For most of us, the clocks springing forward rarely impacts our sleep patterns. Then, you have a baby. You have just cracked a routine that works, and now that precious routine has gone out the window!
By using a few simple tricks, you can ensure a good night’s sleep for everyone. From sticking to normal patterns to making a gradual change, we’ve got a few pointers that might help.
So what can you do to make sure the clock’s changing won’t affect your baby’s sleep? Here are our top tips to keeping your little one’s routine in check:
Tweak their bedtime
Rather than waiting until the day arrives, you can start putting your baby to bed 10 minutes earlier than their regular bedtime in the days leading up to the change. That way, they will be falling asleep 30 minutes before their usual bedtime, and the hour leap won’t feel too different to their normal bedtime.
By gently moving your baby’s nap and food times, you will all be well-prepared to accommodate the new sleep times.
Establish a good bedtime routine
It’s never too early to start a bedtime routine with your little one. Having one in place ahead of events such as the clocks changing will help them learn to adjust to change in the future. Aim to carry out the same steps each night, and before you know it, you have a bedtime routine. This can include:
- A soothing, warm bath – this triggers your baby’s core temperature to rise and then cool quickly, which prepares their body and mind for sleep.
- Brush their teeth – essential for good oral health. You can wipe your baby’s gums with a soft, gentle washcloth or a specially formulated dental wipe to remove harmful bacteria.
- Follow a bath by going straight to your baby’s bedroom. That way, there is no chance for their energy and interest to spark beyond bedtime!
- Switch off or dim the lights – this will encourage your child’s melatonin production – the sleep hormone.
- Snuggle up with a story or two. Not only will this encourage your babe to settle, but it is essential for their language and speech development.
- Say your last good night, and then leave the room.
- Your child should be asleep within 15 minutes.
Even the best routines have their occasional shortcomings. If your child struggles to sleep without you, has sensory issues or ADHD, a weighted blanket may help them to settle better at nighttime. Designed using deep tissue stimulation, your little one will feel like they are having a warm hug as they sleep. What’s more, the pressure encourages that sleep-inducing melatonin hormone to help your baby sleep more quickly and for longer.
Prepare for lighter evenings
Lighter evenings are much-needed after the gloom and darkness of the winter months, but for a baby, a darker room is invaluable for promoting sleep. By installing a blackout blind or using heavy curtains, you can recreate the nighttime feel that your baby has grown used to.
With the spring and summer months upon us, you might want to keep an eye on your baby’s room temperature. Too hot or too cold, and their sleep will likely be interrupted in the middle of the night.
If your little one struggles to sleep without a light on, try and keep lighting to a minimum. A small nightlight or fairy lights can create enough ambience to keep your child confident as they sleep.
Try and stick to normal routine patterns
Small children rely on routines to get them through their daily expectations. It allows them to know when to expect anything from dinner to naptime, so stick to your routine! For those children bursting with bags of energy, it’s worth being more active leading up to the clock’s changing.
At the same time, don’t let your baby get overtired. Sleep is much harder to come by for a babe that has already peaked!
Whatever wind-down time looks like to your family, keep your usual activities in place. If that looks like a warm bath, followed by a story, stick with it. Consistency is the foundation of good parenting, and familiarity will help your babe adjust to the change.
Whatever you do, don’t overthink it. The clocks changing is a twice a year event.
Let them adjust
We all have an internal body clock, and when the clock’s change, your little one needs to adjust to the lighter mornings as much as you! Getting plenty of sunlight in the mornings will help your baby’s body tune in to the time change.
It might be that you let your baby sleep a little longer to cope with the changes. As we all know, an overtired babe is more likely to struggle to sleep at night, so adjust their naps to help them be ready for bed later.
Don’t forget about yourself either! Make sure you leave enough time for your daily routines and activities too.
Change takes time. To you, one hour may feel incredibly insignificant, but for a baby, when most of their day is framed by sleep, it can have quite the impact. Newborns can sleep up to eight hours during the day and up to 16 to 18 in total. As they move onto the next stage, their sleep may alter by a few hours, but sleep remains a constant essential.
When the clocks change, it may feel like you’re taking a massive knock on the good routines you have set up, but your child will bounce back. Remain consistent and boundaries, and your little one will adjust in no time.
The clocks changing doesn’t mean you and your baby need to lose sleep! With proper preparation and a positive attitude, you won’t even notice a change. What will you do to keep up with your good bedtime routines?