To add to the disorientation many of us are facing at the moment, with everything that is going on in the world, this weekend daylight savings time is coming to mix up our body clocks! For little ones who are naturally early risers, you don’t have to change much either, as the clocks will do that for you. However, if you’re concerned that this might mess up your little one’s good sleeping routine, in that you may have to wake them an hour earlier for nursery, school etc. what can you do?
Every year we get asked about daylight savings time and how to tackle it successfully. Don’t do anything until the day itself, have a coffee first, change those clocks and then here is our advice, broken down into age groups:
My best advice for children to help them with the change is to ‘split the difference’ with the old time and the new time. How does that work? Start the process on Sunday night (the first night of the change). For children who no longer nap, and normally go to bed at 7:00pm, you would put them to bed at 7:30pm. Do this for 3 nights, and on the 4th night put them to bed at the normal time, for example 7:00pm or whatever is normal bedtime for your child.
If you have a toddler aged one and older, on Sunday put them down for their first nap 30 minutes later than normal. For example, if they nap at 9:30am usually, you would put them down at 10:00am. You would do the same with the afternoon nap too. At bedtime, if you usually put them down at 7:00pm, you would push this back slightly to 7:30pm. Do this for 3 nights after the time change and then on the 4th night, put them to bed at 7:00pm and on 5th day move naptimes back to normal time.
For babies over 4 months old, you can change their internal clock more gradually. For example, if bedtime is normally 7:00pm move bedtime 15 minutes earlier each night until you reach the normal time. This means that on Sunday night you would put them down at 7:45pm, the second night 7:30pm, and so on. In four nights you should be back to 7:00pm.
If your little one’s bedtime is not predictable, which is completely normal for little ones 0-4 months, simply jump to the new time on Sunday night, as if you were traveling to a new time zone.
It may take your little one a bit more time to fall asleep, this is normal, as, initially, they won’t be as tired.
No matter what age your little one is, one of the main differences will be how light it will be at bedtime. With this in mind, we always recommend that you make your child’s bedroom as dark as possible to limit any sunlight coming into their bedroom and making it difficult for them to fall/stay asleep. A blackout blind, or even black out material/card, can be really helpful to block out any residual light.
It can take about a week for children and babies to completely adjust to the new time, some children can take up to a month. Be patient and consistent, and it will happen!
If you are having trouble with any aspects of your child’s sleep, please do get in touch. We would love to help you all get a better night’s sleep.