Sleep tips for kids when the clocks fall back

Parent of young children? Then the clocks going back is unlikely to bring that promised ‘extra hour in bed’ so, follow our expert tips on how to get you and them ready for Sunday 29th October 2023.

  • Tweak the routine the week before

Depending on your child's age, temperament and after school commitments it may be a good idea to try adjusting their bedtime routine over the course of a week before the clocks go back. It's said this eases your child’s body clock into the new time-zone rather than asking it to jump ahead one hour, in one go. This means making bedtime later by 10-15mins each day starting the weekend before - so, by the following weekend when the clocks change they *should* be right on schedule.

This is a good technique if your child is on a fairly strict schedule or sensitive to over-tiredness, so if they go to bed at 7pm, push it to 7.15pm on the first day, 7.30pm on the second day, and 7.45pm on the third day, and by the day of the clock change they will be up to speed on the new time.

JUNIOR SUGGESTS: It might be a good idea adjust nap times, bath time and mealtimes also - try adding in an extra snack to keep them going if need be.

  • Make more of each evening

Stretch out the time in the evening - as you're basically trying to add 10 minutes to each day in the week as you go along. As light has the biggest influence on our body clocks, why not encourage your child to play outside in the afternoon light and fresh air? This will help to keep them up that little bit later at bedtime. You can also make bath times a little longer, as this will also help relax your child. Read an extra bedtime story, or allow an extra episode of their favourite show. Try not to do anything that will overstimulate them though.

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JUNIOR SUGGESTS: Depending on your work / life commitments it could be a good idea to tweak your own schedule to fit in with your child's - and will make for a smoother transition for all the family come the morning of the clock change.

READ MORE >> 8 Ways to Add Magic to Bedtime Stories

  • Let them lie in

As your baby or child is going to bed 10-15 minutes later each day, it's a good idea to try letting them sleep a little longer in the morning. Try waking them up 10-15 minutes later if you can - school and nursery drop-off times permitting.

JUNIOR SUGGESTS: Try using a black-out shade or blind in the morning time to block out the morning light as it will now be brighter in the mornings.

  • Aids for older children

For school children you may consider using props like the The Gro Company Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer to help support the change in routine. As the glowing screen shows images of stars and sun to communicate sleep and wake-up time. You may also want to practice some mindfulness exercises like these Bedtime Zen: Mindfulness exercises to help kids sleep.

gro company gro-clock

AND, if all else fails...

Followed the tips? Things still not worked out perfectly? PLEASE don’t worry as most disruptions tend to be temporary (hurrah). Most infants and children will get back on schedule within 3 to 7 days.


(IMAGES: Getty Images / Westend61 / Ekaterina Vasileva-Bagler)