As a parent of a former early riser, the prospect of the clocks going back used to fill me with absolute fear, dread and despair. How on earth was I meant to cope with the 5am wakeup becoming the 4am wakeup?!
I know for a lot of people getting up at 4am is just part of their daily lives and routine and is usually to do with needed to get up at that time for work, but for me anything before 6am is the middle of the night still.
So the key with managing the clocks going back is to gently shape your little ones sleep pattern by shifting the time they go to sleep. For some children who are amazingly awesome flexible sleepers (I haven’t found one yet but will be forever in search of these mythical creatures), then this can happen over the 2-4 days leading up to the clocks going back. If you have a wonderful sleeper then two nights before the clocks go back put them to bed 30 minutes after their usual bed time. The next night put them to bed an hour after their usual bedtime. This will mean by the time you get to the night when the clocks have gone back (this year it is October the 27th), you will be putting your little one to bed at exactly their regular bed time and they should therefore be waking at their usual time too.
If your little one is not quite this flexible then try shifting their bed time for 4 days before the clocks go back and move it 15 minutes each night. Again this should result in your little one going to bed at exactly the right time on the night the clocks have gone back and should also result in them waking up at their usual time.
If however, your little one is a much more sensitive sleep and more susceptible to early morning rising then we have to do this process a lot more gradually. This will be effectively the same process but working over the 12 nights before the clocks go back and will the bed time will change in 5 minute increments. I know from personal experience if I tried to put my eldest to bed 15-30 minutes later than normal he would be having a meltdown and climbing the walls in overtiredness. If this sounds like your little one then try out this option.
For our clever, cunning, not-so-little ones who can tell the time you may find it useful to change the time on the clock, if they have a clock in their room, in the same time intervals as when you put them to bed. We use Gro-Clocks from Amazon in my house and if my boys see that it is 6:30am they will be getting up whether the sun has come out on it or not. So changing the time on the clock means they still think they are going to be and getting up at the same time each day when in fact they are not. I know I may be going to bad mum hell for being dishonest with them but I see it as more of a white lie as it benefits them in the long run, and me, the lover of sleep!
A fun way to teach children how to stay in bed until its time to get up.
If you want to know more about sleep shaping or if your little one is having difficulties with sleep then contact me now for your FREE 15 minute telephone consultation to see how sleep coaching could help you, I have the answers you are looking for!