Sleep tips change the clock with a baby

Winter time starts on the night of Saturday October 28 to Sunday October 29; the clock goes back an hour. Before you had children, this meant an extra hour of sleep. But for parents with small children (and especially children who always wake up early), this transition to winter time is tough. Because if your child normally wakes up around 6:00 am (which probably feels very early!), then your child will now wake up at 5:00 am, right Help!!

Sleep coach and owner Marijke van Desk of sleep provides tips for a smooth transition to winter time.

What is the transition to winter time like for your child??

The switch to winter time means that the biological clock is temporarily disrupted. That often takes a week to get used to. That's because resetting the biological clock is quite complicated. That is why we always advise babies, small children and early birds to make the transition step by step. For us adults, it is often fairly easy: you go to bed a little later for a few days and eventually you wake up a little later.

It works differently with small children. Because the later you put your child to bed, the earlier your child wakes up. That may sound crazy, so I'd like to explain it a little more. If you keep your child awake for too long, your child will become tired. The more tired or even overtired, the more difficult it is for your child to fall asleep. If your child exceeds the peak of tiredness too much, the body produces the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone causes the sleep hormone melatonin to decrease in the body. Your child will not only have more difficulty falling asleep, but also staying asleep. Fatigue is therefore one of the factors that causes early waking.

Let your baby gradually get used to the new rhythm

The Sleep Agency advises parents of young children (up to 1.5 to 2 years old) to introduce the new rhythm gradually. Step by step, day by day. It is best to start this in the week prior to the changeover to winter time. An hour time difference is a really big difference for a small child.

Marijke explains what you can do: You start 5 to 6 days before the clock change date by shifting the entire day by 10-15 minutes. This means that you do all activities, such as feeding times, bedtime ritual, going outside and sleeping, 10-15 minutes later every day. The smaller your child, the smaller the steps you want to take. ”

If your child always goes to sleep around 7:15 PM, then it will now be 7:25 PM. This also means that you start the evening ritual a little later. Marijke emphasizes not to rush anything and especially to look at your child, sleep signals and wake-up times*..

The transition to winter time for your toddler or toddler

The older your child is, the greater the steps you can take. That doesn't mean you don't have to prepare your toddler at all. Marijke then advises to move up bedtime and regular actions and activities 1 to 2 days in advance.

A sleep trainer can also work very well for toddlers and toddlers. A sleep trainer is a kind of alarm clock that you can set; red means that your child may still be sleeping and green that your child may be awake. This way you give your child the signal that it is not yet time to get up.

Preferably cold turkey?

Do you believe it all and are you more of a cold turkey approach? This can also work very well! Especially if sleeping is generally fine, your child is a bit older or you are less regular..

You then do no preparation in advance and simply change the clock on Sunday. This can work well, especially for older children or stable sleepers. It can cause some bedtime struggles in the first few days, but some children really cope well with that. The transition to winter time usually goes well.

3 good tips for the transition to winter time

With these 3 tips you are well prepared for winter time:

1. Make use of daylight

In order to adjust the hormones in the body as best as possible, it is good to let your child get used to when it is 'morning'. You do this with (day) light, interaction and breakfast. So when it's time to get up, turn on those lights. We can talk and play louder again. Show your child that it is morning. 

Also go outside into the daylight in the morning, this sets the hormones and biological clock properly.

2. If your child wakes up before 6:00 am

If your child still wakes up around the old time and this is before 6:00 a.m. the new time, let your child feel that it is still night. So no light, interactive or breakfast. Comfort your child and, if necessary, stay with your child until 6:00 am. Try not to leave the bedroom, because then your child will want to leave the bedroom. If he doesn't fall asleep anymore, then turn on the lights at 6:00 am and it's morning! ! 

3. Give the transition to winter time some time

 Setting up a new rhythm really takes a week - and sometimes even a little longer. The biological clock really needs to be reset. So give it some time. If it takes you longer to gradually shift your child's rhythm, try to schedule an extra moment of rest during the day to prevent (over) fatigue..

Mini Masterclass Winter Time

If you would like to make the transition to winter time go smoothly, then join us Mini Masterclass Winter Time from Bureau of Sleep. You will receive all the tips and preparation you can do, so that you can make a personal plan for your child. Including great supporting videos and answers to all your questions to guide you before, during & after the transition.

*Bureau of Sleep works with wake-up times. These are the maximum times that your child can be awake between naps at a certain age. Do you want to know which waking times suit the age of your child? You can request them for FREE at  the website.


Desk of Sleep

Marijke Smeding is a child sleep coach and owner of Desk of sleep. Together with her team of professional, certified sleep coaches, she helps parents to get more (night) rest in the family every day. Bureau of sleep works with a loving approach, without letting your child cry or sleep training. on Instagram they share the world of free sleeping tips.