Helping your Baby When the Clocks Go Back
“Spring Forward, Fall Back” is a saying that my grandmother would say to me when I was young so that I would remember which way the clock goes in which season for Daylight Saving.
However when you have a young baby, the above saying will certainly not help you. In fact when everyone celebrates that extra hour in bed, you know that you’ll be up at the same time but instead of the clock saying 6am, it could say 5am!!! Certainly nothing to celebrate there. Then roll on the end of the day and your baby becomes overtired, fraught and difficult making the longer day just that little more tiresome as you try and get your baby to adjust to their new time schedule.
Can your baby understand the concept of time?
Babies are amazing and we completely underestimate them and their abilities. From the age of one month old, they can begin to anticipate events at given times. This is when routines start to develop and things begin to feel that bit easier.
During their first year they become able to distinguish times and a study published in 2010 showed that babies between 6 and 10 months could differentiate between different periods of time. The scientists were showing an object to the babies every 2 seconds and would note that their pupils would dilate in anticipation of seeing the object. Then they changed the time to every 4 seconds. They noted an increase in the babies’ looking time when the intervals were changed, suggesting that they could recognize a difference between 2 seconds and 4 seconds.
So if a baby can distinguish between a couple of seconds difference, they will certainly notice that extra hour.
So how can you help your baby adjust to the new time?
Firstly, begin to adjust their sleep schedule now. By extending their bedtime by an extra 15 minutes each night, it isn’t a big sudden change and those extra few minutes is usually manageable for the baby. This will make bedtime on Sunday that bit later and hopefully your baby will have adjusted over the last few days.
Once you slowly adjust bedtime, do the same for feed and nap times too so that their daytime schedule also becomes adjusted.
I am a big advocate of bedtime routines. As explained above, babies are excellent at anticipation and will begin to understand that a certain routine will lead to bedtime. An example of a great routine is bath, massage, feed, story, sleep. Ideally, begin your bedtime routine 30 minutes before you intend to put your baby down to sleep.
Sometimes babies can take a while to adjust to a new sleeping pattern but as long as you’re consistent, things will settle down.
Hoping you all get that extra hour!!!!