It’s that time of year again when we turn back the clocks an hour and daylight savings comes to an end. Even though we do this ever year, it has a way of creeping up on us, bringing some confusion and disrupting our routines. It feels like you have just got your baby into a lovely bedtime routine, where they are settling to sleep beautifully and starting their day at a reasonable time. Then comes the clock change and your little one’s body clock is out of sync with the clock on the wall. Please do not stress, you can easily correct this and get your kiddie’s bedtime back on track.
Here are some tips to help you along the way:
We recommend adjusting your child’s bedtime and nap time a week before the clock change; settling them to bed ten minutes later than usual, putting then down for nap times ten minutes later, making meal times ten minutes later and continuing with the rest of your day as normal. Every day, continue to move everything forwards by ten minutes until their bed time has moved an hour later so that when the clocks go back, you are back to where you were and will be putting your child to bed at their normal time.
Have a consistent sleep and awake time as this will help to set your child’s body clock so they are tired at bedtime and ready to start their day after a good night’s sleep. As tempting as it is to let your child sleep for longer in the morning, it is important to wake them up so they can play, socialise, get plenty of daylight and eat enough calories to get them through the night.
Make the most of the daylight, getting out as much as you can. Dig out your wellies, wrap up warmly, play in the garden, go to the park and enjoy the fresh air running round with your children. Sitting on a bench and watching them play with a coffee is also ok! Exposure to light in the day is important because it helps with our melatonin release.
Give your little ones a familiar bedtime routine and encourage your child to enjoy some wind down time after dinner. Play calmly with them doing relaxing activities like a puzzle, drawing, play dough. Turn off the TV, tablets or other electronic devices one hour before bed because the artificial blue light affects your circadian rhythm (internal body clock) by supressing the release of the sleepy hormone melatonin, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Half an hour before bed, give your baby a relaxing warm bath lasting about ten minutes. Get them dressed in their own room, read a story, close the curtains, making the room dark and giving your baby the signal it’s time to sleep. Have a lovely cuddle, say “good night” lay your baby down for the night and leave the room.
If it has crept up on you and you haven’t managed to do this, please do not worry as you will not be on your own. On the morning of clock change, get them up and push on through the morning until nap time and accept, they may be tired and a little grumpy as they adjust. After their nap, wake them and continue with your day as normal. Please be patient as it will take time to adjust to the change, but rest assured it will all fall in to place.