Daylight savings is coming to an end and parents are not looking forward to it. Putting the clocks back an hour causes most children to wake earlier than usual.
This results in less sleep for everyone, and that, in turn, throws off naps, bedtime and even meals leading to overtired children and grumpy Mums and Dads!
As adults, we find we can quickly adjust to the disruption to our sleeping routines within a few days. Children, on the other hand, can take several days to adjust. Don’t worry though, because we’ve got five amazing tips to help you survive daylight savings without losing your sanity.
We’ve got five sleep-promoting and sanity-saving tips for parents to try to help their kids adapt to daylight saving time. They are:
1. Plan Ahead – daylight saving time is like Christmas. We know it’s coming, but it always manages to sneak upon us. This year though, make sure you start preparing for it 4-5 days in advance by moving your child’s schedule including meals 15 minutes later each day. This should minimize the impact and help them adjust much quicker.
2. Have a Routine and Be Consistent – if routines are in place before the time change, life will be much less of a challenge. Making gradual changes to your child’s routine in the days leading up to the time change will make the transition so much easier. Stick to your usual family rules so your little ones don’t form any new habits eg start sleeping in your bed.
3. Use a Sleep Trainer Clock – older toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children would benefit from using our Gro-Clock Sleep Trainer (below). All you do is set the time on the clock you would like your child to stay in bed for. The stars on the clock stay visible until the allocated time is reached and then the sun appears.
To help them understand, there is also a lovely illustrated storybook that parents can read to them as part of establishing the routine. Children find this very easy to understand and parents love not hearing the pitter-patter of feet coming into their bedroom early in the morning!
This isn’t just effective for time changes — it also can help you train an early riser not to wake Mum and Dad too early in the morning, and may help with bedtime battles.
4. Keep Bedrooms Dark – exposure to light naturally wakes our brains up. Putting up blackout blinds (below) in your child’s room helps them to sleep better and longer. Putting the clocks back an hour means the mornings will be lighter.
By providing a dark environment, you are helping your child stay asleep for longer. A blackout blind is also great in spring for the lighter evenings and year-round for daytime naps.
5. Keep Calm – once the clocks change, everyone may become sleep deprived. This leads to more crying, grumpiness, fussiness, and even extra temper tantrums. It’s best to keep your cool and respond calmly to your child. Use quiet voices, darkened rooms and keep an eye on their tired cues and respond accordingly.
It’s also important to look after yourself too. A bit of self-care goes a long way in helping you help your family when daylight savings ends.