It’s time to Spring Forward
British Summer Time begins on Sunday 27th March
Tips to help your child with the transition
It’s that time of year again where we lose an hour of sleep, as British Summer Time begins on Sunday 27th March (yes, going into Mother’s Day!!). For those tired parents with early risers, this one can definitely work in your favour…
We don’t yet know how routines may change as we start to emerge out of lockdown. We have all been through a very long and tiring winter, so things could understandably be a little all over the place. The clocks changing can cause wobbles even at the most stable of times, so it’s worth thinking about how to support your child through it. Check out my tips below if you think your child needs the extra help this weekend.
If you and your child are on a relaxed routine, the time adjustment will happen naturally over the course of the week after springing forward. Our body clocks are heavily influenced by light so just by being exposed to the new daylight hours, your body will slowly shift to the new time.
Babies and children on a structured routine need a little more help adjusting as they are more sensitive to time changes. Start preparing a few days beforehand by bringing your child’s routine 15 minutes earlier each day – this includes meals, activities, naps, bedtime and that unfortunately means waking them earlier in the morning too!
Change their whole schedule
Don’t forget it’s not just bedtime that needs to change. Adjusting your child’s body clock to the new schedule needs to include meals, activities, naps, and bedtime. Keep their room as dark as possible in the mornings to get as much sleep as possible beforehand – you don’t want them waking early this week!
Rescue the early risers!
If you have an early riser on your hands, the spring daylight saving works in your favour. Change ALL the clocks in the house once your child has gone to bed at their usual time and then celebrate! As they will now start to wake at a more acceptable hour!
A well rested child adapts more easily
Make sure your child is well rested and, if applicable, has good naps in the run up to the clocks going back so that they can cope with the changes. This will help prevent over-tiredness creeping in when waking them slightly earlier each morning and from the last nap of the day.
Stick with the bedtime routine
Stick with your current bedtime routine to maintain their expectations of sleep during the transition. Sticking to your usual bedtime boundaries (or creating some if you have none!), will help them be ready for sleep and more importantly, stay asleep. A good wind down before bed is never a bad idea for a baby or child of any age. Help your child wind down for the earlier bedtime by reducing light, removing screens and keeping activities calm.
Daylight is the key to the body clock
Perfectly timed light of any kind is crucial to keeping your child on track as they transition this weekend and going forward as the sun rises earlier. Expose your child to daylight in the mornings to assist their body clock during this transition and help them wake at the new time. For those children that were already waking early throughout March, it’s essential that you keep your child in a darken room in order to protect the new adjusted schedule from Sunday morning. For all children, you may still have to cope with the earlier spring/summer mornings by darkening your child’s room as much as possible. Also, consider using continuous white noise to mask the 4am birdsong.
Blogged by Emma Osborne, Paediatric Sleep Specialist, founder of HushaBoo & Mum to one little boy!