7 ways to prepare your baby for when the clocks change

baby sleep

by Bryony Firth-Bernard |

In case you'd forgotten (don't worry, we did too), the clocks are going forward (Sunday 26 March 2023 at 1am) because of daylight savings.

We chatted to sleep coach Dave Gibson, founder of sleepsite.co.uk, who specialises in providing lifestyle advice and hypnotherapy for families and children with sleep problems. Here are his seven brilliant baby sleep tips if you're worried the clock change will affect your baby's bedtime and sleep routine.

1. Make changes gradually

Many parents have found success changing bedtime over the course of two weeks, a week, or a weekend, depending on the age and temperament of their little one. "For young children, it's often easiest to change the bedtime in 15-minute increments over a long weekend," says Dave. "If there is an adjustment, then it won't interfere with waking up for nursery."

2. Tire them out

"Plan days with heavy activity, particularly physical activity, for the days on which you are putting the bedtime earlier," says Dave. "Naps will be easier to move back when children are more tired."

3. Have a bedtime wind down

During the transition, at night dim the lights and close the curtains a half-hour or an hour before bedtime to encourage a sense that bedtime is coming. "Be sure that the windows have black-out shades as evenings stay lighter later," says Dave.

baby tummy time ideas

4. Adjust other activities

Over the days you change bedtime, be sure to change bath time, nap time and meal times too. "If the bedtime changes are gradual - say, 10 minutes over 6 days - then change the other activities by 10 minutes as well," says Dave.

5. Practice what you preach

"Be sure to adjust your own schedule in the same way you change your children's," says Dave. It will make the routine move more easily for everyone.

6. Altering waking time

Make sure you adjust your baby’s routine to suit the new time change. "Don't let them oversleep in the morning or over compensate at nap time for an early start, otherwise it will carry on to the next day," adds Dave.

7. Eat right for sleep

Always be careful with what your child eats close to bedtime. "Milk contains tryptophan which increases the amount of serotonin a natural sedative," says Dave. "A banana with milk provides vitamin B6 which helps convert the tryptophan to serotonin. Another fruit to consider is cherries which contain melatonin which the body produces to regulate sleep." Remember, any disruption to your baby or toddler's body clock tends to be temporary. Most children get back on schedule within three days.

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