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How to transition your child when Daylight Savings ends

Daylight Savings ends in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT on Sunday the 1st of April 2018. Remember that time, before you had children, when you used to look forward to the end of daylight savings when it meant you had what felt like an extra hour in bed? Not anymore. Whenever we move the clocks forward or back, it can create major sleep disruptions for babies and children, not to mention the parents!

One of the advantages of moving the clock back means that it is darker in the mornings, which can help with those early morning wakes. The disadvantage is that if your child is an early riser and is up at 5.30am, that becomes 4.30am. Eeeek! However, this shouldn’t last for too long as they will also be going to bed an hour later, so things should work themselves out.

As with anything regarding sleep and children, it is really important to not change the routine too much and try not to introduce anything new into the routine at this time. Children love routine and even though the clocks are moving, their bedtime rituals should stay the same.

In order to make the change in time less disruptive, here are 5 tips to get you through without losing too much sleep:

  • Starting on Wednesday 28 March, put your baby to bed for the night 15 minutes later than you would normally. So, if your baby is going to bed at 6.30pm, put them down at 6.45pm.
  • Keep doing this every night so by Saturday night (31st March) you are putting them down an hour later than you would normally, so if bedtime was 6.30pm, it is now 7.30pm.
  • Once you have started moving the bedtime later, then try and keep your baby in their bed 15 minutes longer than you normally would every morning.
  • Move the day sleeps the same way starting on Thursday 29 March.
  • Don’t panic!

If you think your child is going to take longer to adjust, you can always start earlier and spend more time at each stage. For example, you could do two days at 6.45pm, two days at 7pm and so on.

If your baby is waking very early for a bit, then it is a good idea to try and resettle them back to sleep. They should be a bit tired if they are going to bed later, so with a bit of perseverance they should go back to sleep. Even if it is for 30 minutes that is okay. I would not be getting your baby up out of bed before their normal wake time. If you do this then unfortunately the early waking may continue.

Article by Wattle Health resident expert, Paediatric Nurse, Jo Ryan.