Surviving the spring clock change: 4 easy strategies

little one at spring time ready for the clock change

Towards the end of March, the clocks will spring forward an hour, kicking off British Summer Time. I bet, like most parents, you’re not exactly thrilled about “losing” an hour of sleep, especially if you’re already running on fumes. However, the time change doesn’t have to mess with your little one’s sleep routine. Here are four simple strategies to help you avoid any issues…

Plan 1: Baby Steps Bedtime Adjustment

For babies and toddlers who are more sensitive sleepers with strict sleep/wake routines, a gradual shift over several days might be your best bet. Start by nudging bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night in the four days leading up to the clock change. For instance, if your little one usually falls asleep at 7:30pm, try moving it to 7:15pm the first night, then 7:00pm the next, and so on. Remember to adjust their wake-up and nap times accordingly, shifting them 15 minutes earlier each day too.

Quick Tip: Don’t forget to tweak meal and nap times along with bedtime.

Plan 2: Roll with the Spring Clock Change

Alternatively, you could just go with the flow and allow your little one’s body to adapt naturally. This approach works better for older kids who don’t nap or for little ones who do not have a regular nap times. Be patient in the days following the time change, and cut them some slack if they’re a bit crankier than usual. Hang in there, things will settle back into place soon enough! This is the simple approach I always took with my boys and it actually worked out fine!

Plan 3: Embrace the Shift

If your little one is an early bird and wakes up at an ungodly hour like 4-5am, the spring forward can actually be a blessing in disguise. You’ll adjust your clocks but leave their schedule untouched. So instead of sleeping 7pm-5am for example, they will now be sleeping 8pm-6am. No more rising at the crack of dawn, they’ll now sleep in until a more reasonable hour, and you get an extra snuggle session in the evening. Win win!

Plan 4: Split the Difference

For younger toddlers who still nap, another easy approach is to compromise by shifting bedtime 30 minutes earlier on the Saturday night before the time change, then reverting to the usual bedtime on Sunday night. Morning wake-up times will gradually adjust over the next few days.

Additional Tips:

  1. Invest in Blackout Blinds: Lighter evenings (and eventually lighter mornings) can disrupt sleep. Blackout blinds can be a game-changer! Try to keep the bedroom as dark in the morning as it is at night.
  2. Stick to a Bedtime Routine: Consistency is key. A calming bedtime routine signals to your little one that it’s time to wind down, regardless of the clock.
  3. Soak Up Natural Light: Spending time outdoors helps adjust their body clock to the new schedule faster. Aim for meals and naps according to the “new” time on Sunday.

If you’re worried about the early start, consider going to bed earlier yourself the night before the clocks change just in case. You’ll thank yourself!

There you have it—four options and some handy tips to tackle the upcoming clock change. Keep me posted on how it goes and which strategy works best for you!

If your thinking ‘the clock change is the least of my worries as my baby is already waking up so much in the night’, feel free to reach out to me or head over to my Instagram page for regular sleep tips and advice.