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Clock change – we’re springing forward!

Clock change – we’re springing forward!

Hooray for spring! It feels like a long winter – just us?! And with the lighter days, comes the clock change. Twice a year when the clocks change, we’re inundated with questions and parents asking what they can do to manage the change. Although the spring clock change can play havoc with our bodies (an increase in heart attacks and strokes the day after this happen), it can actually really help you out if you have a little one who likes waking before 5am!

So, if you happen to have an early riser, you don’t need to take any action at all. Simply stick to your little one’s current body clock – this means that the clocks change but their body clock won’t and 5am magically becomes 6am!

If, however, your current routine works for you, and you don’t want your timings to change, we have a guide for how to manage the upcoming clock change, depending upon the age of your little one!

For all little ones (and us adults):

Bear in mind that the clock change will bring lighter evenings to start with. This may not be as much of an issue for us as adults as we go to bed later, but your little one may be going to bed when it is lighter outside. With this in mind, we recommend you make your child’s bedroom as dark as possible to limit any sunlight coming into their room which could make it difficult for them to fall/stay asleep. Ideally a 10/10 for darkness until they become a toddler when they may need a little night light if they are scared of the dark.

Using something like a blackout blind or even blackout card/material over the window can be really helpful to block any residual light.

Most importantly, daylight is the best regulator of our circadian rhythms (body clock) so ensure your little one, and you, get outside to use the daylight to help your body clock adjust.


Because these little ones have not developed sleep cycles or melatonin, you’ll find their sleep is much less predictable. If you have a newborn, simply jump to the new time on Sunday night as if you were traveling to a new time zone. Just allow them to fall asleep independently, as much as you can.

Infants (between 4-12 months):

For little ones of this age, we need to change their internal body clock a little more gradually. They will be having between 2-4 naps per day depending on how old they are, so move nap time by 15 minutes each day until they are on their ‘usual’ nap time by Thursday.

You would also do the same for bedtime, if their bedtime is normally 7pm then move bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night until you reach their normal time. So, on Sunday night you would put them down at 7.45pm (‘new springtime’), next night at 7.30pm and so on. By the fourth night you should be back to their ‘normal’ time of 7pm.

Toddlers (1 and older):

These little ones will still be taking naps, but you don’t need to do anything until Sunday nap time. If they have two naps, put them down for their first nap 30 minutes later than normal. For example, if they usually nap at 9.30am you would put them down at 10am instead and do the same for the afternoon nap.

At bedtime if you usually put them down at 7pm, move this by 30mins and put them down at 7.30pm. Do this for 3 nights after the time change and then on the 4th night put them to bed at the normal time of 7pm. You can then move nap times back to normal on day 5. Again, it may take a week or so for them to adjust but try not to get involved too much after you have put your little one into their cot. It may take a little longer for them to fall asleep as they’re technically going to bed 30 minutes earlier, but if they are happy, just leave them to it and they will naturally adjust.

Older children:

For children who are no longer napping we would advise you ‘split the difference’ between the old time and the new time. You don’t have to do anything until Sunday (after you’ve pretended you’ve had a lie in!) so start on Sunday night (first night of the change). Put your child to bed 30 minutes ‘later’ than they would usually go to bed – as an example, if their usual bedtime was 7pm you would put them to bed at 7.30pm (new ‘springtime’) instead. Do this for 3 nights and then on the 4th night put them to bed at the normal time – 7pm.

Keep in mind: It can take about a week for children and babies to adjust to a new time – our body clocks will take their own sweet time – and some children can take up to a month. Be patient and remain consistent and it will happen! Persevere and try not to get involved too much after you have put your little one to bed. It may take a little longer for them to fall asleep but, if they are happy, just leave them to it and they will naturally adjust.


If you are having any trouble with any aspect of your child’s sleep, please do get in touch with Little Dreams Consulting Bristol – we would love to help you all get a better night’s sleep.

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