How to Handle the Clocks Going Back
By Dr Martha Deiros Collado
British Summer Time officially ends at 2am on Sunday 29th October. While for many this means getting an extra hour in bed, if you’re a parent it’s a sad truth that a lie-in is unlikely. Young children may find it difficult to adapt to the clocks going back, but there are some things you can do to make it easier for them to adjust.
- Stagger their bedtimes: You can support your child by staggering their bedtime over the 4 nights leading up to the clocks changing. Starting Wednesday, push their bedtime by 15 minutes. So, if your child usually goes to bed at 7pm push it to 7:15pm (Thursday 7:30pm bedtime, Friday 7:45pm and Saturday 8pm). By Sunday when the clock change happens your child can go to bed at their usual 7pm.
- Have a reverse lie-in: Your child’s wake-ups ‘should’ adjust alongside their bedtimes, but this won’t be for every child. Accept that there may be some early wake ups and give yourself a ‘reverse lie-in’ by going to bed an hour earlier to get the rest you need.
- Reset your body clock: Make sure you all get some fresh air on Sunday morning, adjust your mealtimes to be later (e.g. don’t be tempted to start lunch at 11am!), and dim lights in the evening. This will help to cue your body clock and make the change more manageable.
Dr Martha Deiros Collado
You can support your child by staggering their bedtime over the 4 nights leading up to the clocks changing
It typically takes 4-5 days to adjust to the change. So, even if you choose not to stagger bedtimes, rest assured your child (and you) will be back to normal within a few days.
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About the author
Dr Martha Deiros Collado (https://www.drmarthapsychologist.com/) is a clinical psychologist and HCPC registered practitioner with over 20 years of clinical and academic experience. Martha’s expertise is in parenting, child development, and paediatric health. Whilst specialising in helping children and their parents cope with distress by taking a holistic systems approach that values the individual, their family, and the networks around them.
Dr Martha Deiros Collado, Clinical Psychologist