For those of us with young children when the clocks go back this weekend, it’s unlikely that the promised ‘extra hour in bed’ will come to fruition. Worst of all the 7am weekend wake up cuddle has now become 6am! Not a great option when you have had a tough week at work.
Here are some tips to help get children through the clocks go back transition as smoothly as possible.
#1 Migrate Sleep Pattern Slowly
Try changing bedtime over the course of a week, or a weekend, depending on age and temperament. For babies and toddlers who are still napping try changing bedtime by 10 minutes per day over 6 days until you’re on the right schedule For young children, it’s often easiest to change the bedtime in 15-minute increments over a long weekend. If there is a hic-up it won’t interfere with waking up for school.
#2 Increase Light In Evenings
As you are trying to keep your child up slightly longer each night keep them more alert for longer by allowing the lights to be brighter and curtains open a little longer to encourage children to stay awake for longer.
#3 Longer Bath Times
Make bath time a little longer to help stretch out the time in the evening. This will also help relax your child.
#4 Decrease Light in Mornings
Use black-out shades for the morning time so the light is blocked out and children are not woken up earlier than they should be.
#5 Change Other Daily Routines
Adjust all routines step by step. If the bedtime changes are gradual – say 10 minutes over 6 days – then change the other activities by 10 minutes as well, including mealtimes, nap times and bath-time.
#6 …Including Your Own!
Adjust your own schedule in the same way you change your children’s. It will make the routine move more easily for everyone.
#7 Use Props For Older Children
For older children consider using props to help to support the change in routine. Some parents use clocks with a sun and a moon and tell the child that they must stay in bed as long as the moon is out.
#8 Try Relaxation Exercises
If your child has difficulty going to sleep then try relaxation exercises. A simple routine is to teach them to breath from their diaphragm by placing you hand on their belly as the breath in and out. This will help them relax more easily.
I have also taught my daughter to help get herself to relax by tensing and relaxing each limb / muscle of her body in sequence. This helps her let go of tension and brings her focus into her body , rather than her brain which tends to go through the day when she hits the pillow.
If things don’t work perfectly don’t worry as most disruptions tend to be temporary. Most infants and children get back on schedule within 3 days to a week.