Remember the days before having kids when the clocks going back meant an extra hour in bed? If you’re a parent of a baby or young child you might be dreading the thought of the clocks changing this weekend. We asked Stratford-based baby sleep consultant Bonnie from Bon Nuit Sleep Consulting for her advice….
The extra hour in bed isn’t such a happy moment when your toddler is waking up at 6am and it’s suddenly now 5am! But the good news is, it will be darker in the evenings and this will aid the production of melatonin helping them feel sleepy at bedtime.
But, what can you do as a parent to help ease your children through this transition? Here’s my five top tips on coping with the Winter clock change.
- Make the bedtime transition gradual. From Wednesday night try putting your child down for sleep 15 minutes later than most nights. On Thursday night, do the same and push bedtime 15 minutes later so that you are slowly easing them into the new time change. Do the same for Friday night so that by Saturday night they are going to bed a whole hour later without realising it.
- Make the room dark. The mornings will be lighter which may interrupt with your child’s waking hour. Make sure all the curtains have been drawn and use blackout blinds in the bedroom to stop the rising sun waking them earlier than usual.
- Get out and active on Saturday. Get your children up and out early on Saturday to wear them out.
- Stay calm. Our body clocks have a built-in natural resistance to change so don’t panic if your little one is struggling to adjust. What’s going to work with each family is different — you may want to introduce some calming activities or quiet time before bedtime, or make sure your child’s last nap doesn’t end too late in the afternoon.
- Don’t introduce any bad habits. As always when you have periods of change, an illness, a holiday, a change of time zone try to roll with the problem for a few days. Don’t over analyse it and start introducing bad sleep habits in order to cope. It takes about a week to adjust to a new time zone, they will adapt and life will return to normal.
Enjoy the dark, cosy nights with stories and hot milk. Although the nights are longer often Winter brings welcome family time in front of a crackling fire.
Bon Nuit Sleep Consulting
Bonnie is a qualified baby and child sleep consultant specialising in creating tailored sleep plans to suit you and your baby.
Although based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Bonnie covers all of Warwickshire and the West Midlands.