There's two ways you can tackle the end of daylight savings to minimise the disruption of the clocks going back an hour.
Which one you choose depends mostly on whether you feel able to handle the change in one go or if you prefer to adjust your child’s schedule gradually in the days or weeks leading up to or after daylight savings.
There isn't a right or wrong way, at the end of the day choose whatever suits your child’s personality – and yours.
This is as simple as keep going as usual, meaning just go with the new time change and go about your sleep schedule as usual.
This approach works well with babies and children who are able to adapt to staying up a little beyond their bedtime and who don’t get too overtired as a result.
So when your little one goes to bed on Saturday, make sure to change the clocks back an hour and then continue with your family’s routine as usual.
The following day, keep your child’s routine and sleep schedule the same: food and naps at the usual times.
Upside: Babies and children that are going to sleep and waking up later than you’d like can have their bedtimes adapted so they’re now going to bed and waking earlier. For instance if they struggled to go to sleep before seven, now their body clock will hopefully help them get to sleep at the new time of six o’clock. The bonus is you will get more time to yourself in the evening!
Downside: Children may struggle to have their naps at the new, earlier time, or stay awake until their new bedtime – which will feel to them much earlier than their old one – but usually this will usually resolve itself in a few days or by the end of the week at the most.
For a few days or weeks, your little one might wake earlier in the morning and from their naps than you’d like. But they should adapt soon enough. To help resolve this, try moving their naps back to an earlier time, but only do it as a short-term solution.
For some the overnight, sharp one-hour change in schedules is too much to cope with. This is especially true if you feel that you've only just got your baby into a workable routine or if your child is particularly sensitive to a sudden change in their usual daily routine. This approach involves a more gradual change but doesn’t necessarily mean more work.
How this works: It involves tweaking your baby’s schedule by 10 - 15 minutes each day ahead of time until you've dropped back the full hour. You can start this tweaking process from up to one week ahead of time or a few days before end of daylight savings.
Upside: This approach usually works for babies older than eight months but some six month olds will also manage this change. Younger babies usually adapt more easily as their schedules aren’t as set and their sleep patterns are often more unpredictable.
This is also a great strategy for correcting early wakings. So, if your baby is one that already wakes too early, for instance at 5am and you would prefer they wake at 6am, then in the weeks before the clocks changing try and move their routine ahead by an hour. When the clocks go back, they should be waking at the new 5am time. Then, switch their schedule again by an hour after the clocks have moved, hopefully your baby will begin to wake more regularly at 6am.
Downside: Some babies need more time to adjust, meaning you'd need to start the adjustment process one or two weeks leading up to the end of daylight savings. This gradual movement of time can be hit or miss and can result in a longer 'painful' adjustmentprocess.
Although some take longer – your baby will eventually be back to their original schedule.
Keep reading your baby’s sleep cues. Their internal clock is more powerful than an actual clock.
Be flexible. The change often makes adults feel out of sorts, so young children can be especially affected by the clocks changing.
As we move further into the cooler season, it’s a good time to consider whether your little one is warm enough at night. It might be time to invest in a warm sleep bag, make sure to choose a TOG rated sleep bag appropriate for your climate. [Read: Keep Your Baby Sleeping Just Right During the Cold Chilly Winter Season]
Take the opportunity to shorten day naps. When they sleep longer at night, they may not take their usual long day naps, therefore be prepared for shorter day naps.
One good thing about the end of daylight savings is that the nights get longer and the mornings and evenings are darker which often helps children sleep a little longer.