Time Change With Babies: When The Sandman Comes An Hour Later

Twice a year, the clock is turned in Germany – For many people, this is a horror. However, the time change becomes a real challenge for babies and toddlers who have just found their own sleep rhythm. They have and need fixed bedtimes and have a very sensitive sleep rhythm.

It is therefore the task of parents to prepare the little ones early enough for the time change. With a few tricks, the time change with baby becomes child’s play. Despite the methods, some children take a little longer to get used to the new bedtime.

Babies And Children Need Fixed Sleeping Times

Especially in the first six months, babies need very fixed sleeping times. Because of this, babies in particular struggle with the time change. Especially because they may have just developed a fixed sleep rhythm. In the beginning, children have a lot of trouble sleeping through the night. This is shown by the fact that they often and even repeatedly start crying in the middle of the night. Their sleep-wake rhythm is very sensitive, so even small disturbances can disrupt a baby’s sleep. Here are ten tips to help your baby develop a sound and peaceful sleep.

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What Effects Can The Time Change Have On Babies?

The lights are out. The blanket is pulled up to the nose. The eyes are closed. But baby sleep just won’t kick in. During the time change in spring, babies have the problem that they can’t fall asleep. No wonder, after all, the hands of the room clock show seven o’clock, but on the internal clock, it is just six. The next morning, the little ones are usually unslept and this leads to them being more querulous or in younger years: crying more often. Getting used to the new bedtime can sometimes take up to a week or even longer for babies.

The onset of wintertime causes children to get tired earlier. By dinner time, they are already rubbing their eyes and the first yawn is emitted. However, it’s not time for the sandman until an hour later. In the morning, the little ones are then awake earlier. This can lead to sleep deprivation in babies and toddlers.

When Is The Time Changed?

Every year, the clocks in Germany are changed at the end of March and the end of October. Two o’clock at night becomes three o’clock in the spring. So the clock is set forward one hour in the month of March. This is then reversed in the fall. Wintertime begins when the clock is moved from three o’clock to two o’clock.

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How To Master The Time Change With Babies And Children

Parents can help make the time change as easy as possible for their babies and toddlers. So the date should be marked in the calendars of mother and father in any case. This way, the infant can be prepared for the new bedtime a few weeks in advance.

Tips For Preparing For The New Bedtime:

  • One hour of time difference is quite a lot at once. To make the time change easier for your baby, you can start the change in pieces a week in advance. If your child goes to bed ten minutes earlier and gets up earlier (or later, depending on whether it’s summer or winter time) every day, he or she won’t mind the time change at all. Does your baby have big sleep problems? Then you can start the artificial time change even earlier and work with smaller time intervals.
  • To give your child’s day a structure, you should not only change the bedtime routine but also the entire daily rhythm. Fixed mealtimes in particular help to structure the day. You should pay particular attention to this if you start the time change in pieces beforehand.
  • Work with light after and before the time change. If you darken the room, your child’s body knows it’s bedtime. If you light up the room, it is the signal to get up.
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If your child has sleep problems after the time change despite applying the tips, you can also simply extend the nap during the day. Especially in the first year of life, your infant will enjoy the relaxing hours in a cozy place, like a baby hammock. This makes more sense than changing the actual sleeping times. So, by all means, keep your baby’s usual bedtime routine despite the time change.

Tips For Nights After The Clock Change:

The clock was adjusted and now? Is the child allowed to sleep immediately when he or she whines, or should he or she stick to the usual times? Here too – depending on winter and summertime – there are some tips and tricks.

  • In spring: Do not let your child sleep longer in the morning. Otherwise, he will not be tired in the evening and will not be able to fall asleep again. The day after the time change, you can do something active with your child. If your baby or toddler moves a lot during the day, he will be tired earlier – at the right time – in the morning.
  • In autumn: Keep your child awake a little longer on the evening of the time change. This way, he or she is more tired and can sleep longer in the morning.
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Travel To Another Time Zone – Sleep Problems On Vacation

The time change can also play a role when traveling. If your child has severe sleep problems and is very used to fixed times, you should pay attention to which time zone your destination is in when planning the vacation. In the first months, traveling to a country where the time is adjusted by more than four hours is not recommended. Of course, this varies for each baby and child. Some find the right sleep rhythm very quickly, others can already walk better than sleep.

Therefore, you should ask your pediatrician for advice before a long journey. He knows your baby and can give you a recommendation. Ultimately, of course, the decision is yours. However, there are also many beautiful travel destinations for families that are located in the German time zone. For example, France, Italy, Spain or Greece are suitable for a beach vacation with children. Planning a trip? Here you can find out how to spend a relaxing vacation with baby and also download a packing list for a family vacation with baby.

Elternkompass wishes you a relaxed time change and a great vacation!

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