As any new parent will quickly find out, the clocks going back doesn’t mean the treasured lie in we used to enjoy… Someone forget to tell baby who will wake up like clockwork (excuse the pun) bang on the same time they have woken up for the past few months. However, the good news is there are several tips and techniques we can apply to help ensure the transition isn’t too painful. Here are four top tips to help create a smooth transition. 1) Do it in stages. A sudden shift to sending them to bed an hour later in the hope they will wake up later simply won’t cut it. Your little one will be up at the same time they have woken for the past week, rest assured… or rather no rest assured. However they are likely to be a bit crankier later in the day if you have inadvertently deprived them of an hour’s sleep the night before! Instead start your plan a few days earlier. Try increments of sending them to bed 15 minutes later from the four days leading up to ease their body clocks in. Luckily most babies and young toddlers aren’t yet proficient clock readers, so won’t be able to call you out on your cunning ruse!
2) Keep the bedtime routines the same. In adjusting your baby or toddler to the time shift, think about the whole evening routine. Ensure all the rituals are adjusted time wise ahead of sleeptime. This includes mealtimes/milk/ stories or pre-bedtime music. According to NHS advice: “Try to choose a short routine which suits you and your child. You could perhaps include: having a bath, putting on pyjamas, having a drink, brushing teeth and reading a story or singing/listening to music.” Music is of course a great and proven way of preparing babies for sleep as a part of a pre-bedtime routine. It’s why musician Jane Stewart developed sleep teddy Lully as a key part of a routine to help soothe young minds. Find out more about the benefits of music in creating a relaxing bedtime regime.
3) Don’t react to your baby waking earlier than planned! Yes easier said than done, but by reacting to their crying and beginning the day with milk or a toy at an anti-social time you can set in train a more regular cycle of waking up early. If you don’t want to ignore them perhaps try settling them so they know it still isn’t time to begin the day. You could avoid stirring up a whole load of trouble… According to advice on sleep issued by the NHS: “If a certain type of behaviour is “ignored”, it is less likely to happen again. For many children, ignoring them is even less of a reward than punishment. If you try to pay as little attention as possible at night time you will be less rewarding for your child.”
4) Have a little patience. Despite all our best intentions and pre- planning the body clock is a powerful thing, and baby may well still wake up early. Try and avoid being too stressed about it and stick to the plan. It may just take a few days to adapt. Swapping back may cause more confusion and cost your baby more shuteye. Within 3 days most babies will be back into the routine by now anyway.
And remember like with everything with your little one, you’ve got this!