Sleep coach’s tips for baby (and mama) when daylight savings ends

In Body + Soul, Features, Motherhood, Stories by Nicole Fuge

Want to ensure baby – and mama – have a smooth sleep transition when daylight savings ends? Um, yes please! Parenting, babies and sleep routines can be enough at the best of times, let alone throwing daylight savings in the mix.

As the clocks go back this weekend (for our mamas in in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania), you’ll want to ensure your baby has a smooth sleep transition so you, mama, don’t lose any of your precious shuteye and can enjoy your long weekend as planned. Hello wine time, a bit of yoga, or whatever it is that you enjoy when you can squeeze in some “me time”.

So, what are some things you could try? We caught up with Cheryl Fingleson, from The Sleep Coach, who shared some tips you might find useful.

Method: pretend nothing has happened

“This method works well with 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, change the clocks and then continue with your family’s routine as usual.

The following day, keep your baby or toddler’s routine the same as always: food and naps at the usual times; fresh air and sunlight to help their body adapt.

With this method, children sometimes 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. If you need to move their naps to an earlier time, you can do so but only do it as a short-term solution.

The upside of this method is that babies and children who 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 go to sleep at the new time of six o’clock. The bonus is you will get more time to yourself in the evening!”

What else to look out for when the clocks change

1. Keep reading your baby’s sleep cues. Their internal clock is more powerful than an actual clock.

2. Be flexible. The change often makes adults feel out of sorts, so young children can be especially affected by the clocks changing.

3. As we move further into autumn, it’s a good time to consider whether your little one is warm enough at night. 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.

4. However, be aware of the knock-on effect of too much sleeping at night: their day-time naps might shorten.

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