How to deal with the dreaded clock change…

For many people, the clock change heralds the start of the summer – and therefore is something to be welcomed. But for parents of children with delicate sleep patterns, the loss of an hour can result in chaos at nighttime for weeks. Our resident sleep expert, Lucy Wolfe, has some great advice on how to deal with the fall-out from the clock change on 26th March.

Firstly, ensure that your child is well rested in the run up to this weekend. Aim for adequate naps and optimum night time sleep; then on the day of the change either:

  • Do nothing; slot them into the new time. Adjust your clock to reflect the new time and by and follow your typical daily routine, with everything pushed ahead by one hour. This way your child will lose an hour and this will mean that bedtime is potentially a whole hour earlier than the night before and you may encounter a struggle, so respond accordingly as they process the change with the aim that within the week you are back to normal, not expecting anything to be any later or earlier than the previous week but more or less the same time structure that you have been observing.
  • If you feel that this is too much of a jump then you can spilt the difference between the new time and the “old” time for the first few days with the notion of getting back to your original bedtime within a few days. Match your feeding schedule to this change. For example. If bedtime is usually 7pm, aim for 7.30 “new time”, this in reality would be 6.30pm before the change. This way you may alleviate some of the struggle of not being sleep ready and still allowing their body to adjust with minimum upset to your daily routine.
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If you really find that it takes your child time to adjust to any changes then you could consider bringing timings forward from Wednesday 22nd March onwards. Adjust bedtime 15 minutes earlier on Wednesday evening and follow this through over the next few days, gradually changing nap times, meal times and of course bedtime by 15 minutes so that by Sunday you will already be on the correct clock. This way you are preparing in advance and offsetting any of the potential struggles that you may have had in the past.


  • Decide on which option suits you and your child/ren best to help with this transition
  • Continue to pay attention to your child’s tired signals and act accordingly
  • Ensure that the room is dark enough at both bed-time and on wake-up and also for naps
  • You may need to use black out blinds, if you are not already
  • Be flexible, it takes a good few days for or bodies to adjust to the change; that applies to adults as well as children
  • Have a consistent response if they are struggling to sleep and avoid ingraining habits that you may need to address in the future

Lucy Wolfe’s book, The Baby Sleep Solution, published by Gill books is out now. Buy it here


Originally posted 2017-03-21 11:44:50.