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How to Survive the Clocks Going Back and Stop Early Rising

Do you have an early-riser? Does your child wake you at 5.30AM or earlier? Do you feel that you have tried everything to get your baby or toddler sleeping later in the mornings? Or are you just scared that when the clocks go back, your child is going to start waking up too early?

Well, here is something that is going to get your little one sleeping later. This is how to stop early-rising. This is how to reset the body-clock….

Around this time of year, I get an influx of emails and calls from parents who have early-risers, and are scared that the clocks going back is going to make their mornings even worse. Thankfully, I have devised a method to reset body-clocks that usually fixes this problem in 3 days.

As long as your child will fall asleep independently and usually sleeps through the night without waking you, you can try this. The method is slightly different for babies, but the general idea is the same: spend 3 days getting your toddler or child totally over-tired and by the fourth morning, they will sleep past their usual wake-up time. You then gradually give them back their sleep and that is what sets the new wake-up time! Easy!

If you are using this to do a reset when the clocks go back at the end of October, my advise is to start it on the Thursday before they change so that by Sunday morning, your child should sleep later.

Reset for 1-3 year-olds:

  1. Cut back naps by 50% for 12-18 month olds, 75% for 18-24 month olds and also for 2-3 year olds

  2. Put them to bed 1 hour later than usual for 12-18 month olds, 1.5 hours later for 18-24 month olds and 2 hours later for 2-3 year olds

  3. Try to time naps around journeys, but if you can’t and they fall asleep on the move, wake them up at your destination

  4. Expect them to be cranky and vile by the end of the second day, and to become devil sporn by the third


  6. After the third night, they should sleep at least an hour later than usual

  7. On day 4, increase naps by 10-15 minutes each, and make bedtime 15 minutes earlier. Repeat this each day, until you feel that your child is getting almost enough sleep, then keep these timings for a few days before increasing the sleep one more time.

  8. Ta-da! Reset complete!

Reset for children over 3 years old:

Friday Night – Bedtime 2.5-3 hours later than usual

Instead of giving your child dinner at dinner time, give them a snack then give them a bath. Get them dressed then go out for dinner. Take plenty of toys/games and keep them entertained by bringing the different toys/games out one at a time. Travel home with the windows down in the car and the music up or walk home so that they don’t fall asleep on the way. When you get home, do the usual bath (yes, two baths! The first was to wake them up a bit) and bedtime routine and put them to bed 2-3 hours later than usual. The older they are, generally, the later you will need to keep them up.

Don’t expect them to sleep any later the next morning, but do expect them to be a bit over-tired and grumpy by the afternoon. If your child usually has a nap, cut it down by 75%.

Saturday Night – Bedtime 2-2.5 hours later than usual

This similar to the first night, so have a snack instead of dinner, then go out to play! Take the torches to the park and have some fun. When you get home, sit down to a nice family meal (you may need to keep the heating down low to keep them awake). Afterwards give them a really long bath (keep adding hot water), and get ready for bed as usual. Put them to bed 2-2.5 hours later than usual depending on their age.

Sunday Night – Bedtime 1.5-2 hours later than usual

Do the usual bedtime routine, just slightly later than usual. Your child should be absolutely exhausted by now and by the third morning they will sleep later. Their body clock has now been reset! Hooray!

For the next few days, maintain a bedtime 30-45 minutes later than you would normally and then on Wednesday or Thursday, go back to their usual bedtime. This helps to stop them falling back to their spring/summer wake-up time.

Reset for babies under 12 months:

This is more difficult. Please don’t try either of the methods above. If your baby is waking early, please call me on 07977 462252 and we can discuss what you need to do as babies under 12 months will be waking early for different reasons and we will need to look at their daily routine to work out why they are waking. Once I have worked out the cause of the early-rising, I will be able to tell you how to fix it.

If you have any questions about early-rising or you would like a more tailored plan, please do get in touch.

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