How do I prepare my kids for the clocks changing?
So it’s that time of year again where we are soon to lose an hour’s sleep thanks to Daylight Saving. Hmm thanks for that, as if we are not tired enough already!
Back in the day it used to mean that I had less time to get over my hangover, now it means my kid’s sleep can be affected and sometimes that feels even worse than a hangover haha!
When the clocks go forwards it means that what was a 7pm bedtime is now 8pm and that can have a knock on effect to the following week as you’re starting the week an hour in sleep deficit. Here are my tips to help you through.
What can we do to help our little ones transition smoothly to the new time?
Starting a week or so in advance, shift your routine forwards by 5-15 minutes depending on how sensitive your child is to changes. So move naps and meal times back by 15 minutes every couple of days until you have made up the hour by the 29th!
Some parents like to live life on the edge and just deal with what happens. What losing an hour is likely to mean is that children who are used to going to bed at 7.30pm might not be ready until 8.30pm. No problem at all other than if your little one will find it hard to get up on Monday 30th for nursery/school having had an hour’s less sleep.
Some children will be absolutely fine with this and will just adjust over the next week or two.
If your little darling is usually up with the larks at 6 am or even earlier, this is a great opportunity to make use of the clocks change and do absolutely nothing meaning that naturally you have ‘fixed’ their early rising! (until October anyway haha)
Broad specutrum daylight is one of the best ways of regulating our circadian rhythm. Getting children out and about in the daylight will not only help with Vitamin D which is distinctly lacking in our bodies in Winter but will help to ensure their body clocks adjust to the new times.
Exercise is also sleep’s friend, kids need loads of exercise to tire them out, having more time in the day and hopefully better weather is perfect for encouraging us all to get more mobile.
As mentioned earlier adjusting meal times will help to adjust their internal body clocks. Go a step further by offering sleep inducing bedtime snacks like nut butters on whole grain bread, oats and banana or a cherry smoothie, all rich in tryptophan and natural melatonin.
I harp on about bedtime routines a LOT. I can’t emphasise enough how helpful it is to have a really consistent bedtime routine. Keep it to no more than 45 minutes in length (shorter for younger babies), make it loving and nurturing and calm and most of all the same every night.
Where possible turn down the lights and keep things as dim as possible a couple of hours before bedtime to encourage that magic melatonin to start rising.
Kids are creatures of habit and love the predictability of a bedtime routine to help slow their minds and bodies down in preparation for bed.
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If you’re worried about what will happen beyond the clocks changing, maybe sleep is completely out of the window already and you need some help. Take a look at my Sleep Coaching Packages for a range of affordable options to get some hands on support. You can book a FREE 15 minute consultation with me first, just click on the link below and book online.