How do I help my child deal with the clock change?

How do I help my child deal with the clock change?

It’s that time of year, when everyone gets a little bit confused about which way the clocks are going and if we get an extra hour in bed or not! So how do we help our little ones navigate this?!

With British Summer time ending on 27th October, and the clock going back an hour, here is my advice and top tips on how to help your child adjust.

There are a few different approaches you can use, depending on the age of your child and how sensitive they are to change.

The Gradual approach

You move your child’s bedtime forward in 15 minutes increments over the four days leading up to the Saturday night clock change.

  • Starting on Wednesday – Bedtime at 7.15pm
  • Thursday – Bedtime at 7.30pm
  • Friday – Bedtime at 7.45pm
  • Saturday – Bedtime at 8pm (Saturday night the clocks change at midnight)
  • Sunday – Bedtime will then sit perfectly at the new time of 7pm.

Split the difference

This means literally taking that extra hour and splitting it, so put your child to bed at 730pm on the Saturday night, this may mean they wake slightly earlier on the Sunday morning according to the new time, but it will soon sort itself out when you return to a 7pm (new time) bedtime on Sunday.

Immediate Switch

For older children or less sensitive little ones, then you can just go for the immediate switch.  This means, if your child normally goes to bed at 7pm, then on the Saturday night, you can keep them up extra hour for that night, so bedtime is 8pm.  Which means when the clock change at midnight, they will wake after their usual mount of sleep and will have adjusted to the time difference.  Then on Sunday continue as normal using the new time.

Tips for using Immediate switch approach:

  • I would only suggest this for little ones whom you think will be able to stretch that extra hour to bedtime without getting overtired.  The last thing you want is for them to get into overtired territory, as this will then lead to potential night wake ups, and an even earlier start on Sunday.
  • If your child is still taking naps, then you could always give them an extra mid-afternoon cat nap (20minutes), if they will take it, to help them stay up for the extra hour. (Be mindful of their wakeful windows).
  • If they are not taking naps, you could try a one-off cat nap in the afternoon.  Often a 20-30minute trip in the car mid afternoon will help them drop off.
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Additional tips

  • Daylight – The clock change will also mean the amount of daylight in the morning will change, and if you do not already have blackout blinds, then this could help prevent earlier morning wake ups due to the amount of day light getting into your child’s bedroom. Daylight can affect their melatonin levels (the sleep hormone), which means they could wake earlier with the new lighter mornings if too much daylight is getting in.
  • Melatonin – Daylight and fresh air is a great way to help regulate their melatonin levels – so try and get them outside on Sunday morning if you can!
  • Keep to your normal routine – make sure you keep to your normal bedtime routine, so that your little one, recognises their normal bedtime cues, and any time adjustment will make minimal difference to them.
  • Time – Don’t worry if it takes a few days for them to fully get into the swing of the new time, but anything longer than a week, may mean there is something else going on.

If you are struggling with getting your little one to sleep through the night or they are fighting sleep, then get in touch today, for a complimentary call, to discuss how we can restore Blissful Bedtimes in your home.

Email: emma@blissfulbedtime.co.uk or call Emma on 07568490457

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