It’s spring again, which means the clocks are about to leap forwards by an hour. In many ways that’s lovely (yay, summer!), but it also mean lighter evenings, unsettled routines and body clock adjustments for young children.
If you’re dreading the first week of change, we’ve got a few ideas to help you maintain your child’s sleep pattern. These tip have been kindly provided by Tina Goldsmith, founder of Snuggle Sac, The Children’s Sleep Charity, and Sleep Sense consultant Judy Clark.
Sleep tips for the clock change
- Try to plan ahead for clock changes. In the summer time it gets lighter in the mornings so you may wish to invest in a pair of blackout blinds so that the light mornings don’t interrupt your little ones sleep.
- The evenings can be lighter too. Draw the curtains in the hour leading up to bedtime to help your child to produce melatonin, the hormone that helps us to feel sleepy.
- When a clock change is approaching gradually begin to move your child’s bedtime. So for example in the spring time you should move your child’s bedtime forwards by 10 minutes each evening over a period of six nights. By the time the clock change arrives your child’s body clock will hopefully have adjusted.
- Try to adjust their nap time too. Moving their daytime naps forward or letting them sleep a little less than usual can help to regulate their body clock and assist them with moving their bbiological bedtime an hour earlier.
- Some children may need you to gradually move their bedtime over a number of weeks. These children may take up to four weeks to adjust, so start early and stick to the new routine each day until they are settled.
- Don’t forget to wake your children earlier in the morning to help to keep their body clocks on schedule. So if you put them to bed earlier by 15 minutes, you will need to wake them earlier by 15 minutes too.
- Move the whole routine – not just the bedtime! You will need to think about making everything earlier such as nap time, supper time and bath time.
- Got an early riser? If your little one normally wakes up too early then you can use the clock change to your benefit. Leave bedtime at its usual time – an hour later by the clock – and with any luck it will feel like they’ve slept an extra hour in the morning.
About the authors:
Snuggle Sacs were launched in 1999 by Tina Goldsmith, to solve her son’s sleep disturbance issues, of waking up cold with his covers on the floor. By designing a super cute, cosy, soft, fun, yet practical sleeping bag in the style of a lion she succeeded in combining the warmth of a duvet, with the comfort of a teddy bear and the practicality of a sleeping bag. For more information and details visit www.snugglesac.com
Vicki has trained with both Sleep Scotland and Southampton Sleep Service, her background is in education having qualified as a teacher in 1998. Vicki is passionate about supporting parents to get a better night’s sleep and regularly writes in the media and speaks at national conferences. For more information and details visit www.thechildrenssleepcharity.org.uk
Judy Clark – Sleep Therapist, Sleep Expert, Sleep Doula. Trained in the Sleep SenseTM Method and based in the UK, Judy helps parents all over the world get a good night’s sleep. For more information and details visit www.babywinkz.com