TIPS FOR HELPING YOUR LITTLE ONES GET THROUGH THE DREADED ‘DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME CHANGE’
For both kids (and parents alike) getting through the beginning or end of daylight savings can be a really daunting and difficult time. Whilst an hour change in time might seem like a small change for adults, for children this is a really big period of time that can impact on their sleep cycles and we end up with grumpy & overtired kids which isn’t fun for anyone! This can then interfere with not only their sleep routine but ours, as parents also! We’ve all been there and for many, it’s not an enjoyable time!
For Mums and Dads, there are things we can do to make this challenging time a bit easier:
It’s important to understand that the start or end of daylight savings is a big thing in a little child’s normal night-time process. Kids generally love routine and actually thrive off routine and daylight savings throws everything into havoc. If we, as parents, can mentally prepare ourselves that there is a challenging period of time with our kids’ sleeping coming up then I think we can cope with it better. For a lot of young children daylight savings start or end will often affect their sleep routine and we will need to adjust our normal day-to-day family lifestyle/night-time routine to suit our kids at this point.
Remember, it doesn’t last forever! Unless there is some sort of underlying medical issue such as reflux or iron deficiency for example, most kids will jump back into a good bedtime pattern within 1-3 weeks…I promise there’s light at the end of the tunnel if we do the right things.
Being there for our kids and providing extra comfort is really important. Little children need a lot of comfort at the best of times, but being overtired and cranky (as they do not understand their new routine can be really hard on them!) There’s a good chance that you will need to provide extra comfort and settling techniques for between 1-3 weeks at daylight savings beginning or end. For babies, settling techniques include:
Presence in their room
Each family needs to work out what works best for them.
For toddlers and older children you may want to try:
An extra book
Presence in their room
Rewards such as stickers for performing the desired behaviours
Again, work out what works best for your family.
For children themselves, day light savings start or end can be a very troublesome time, but there are definitely things that parents can do to help make their transition easier. These include:
Start now! In the early hours of Sunday 7th October 2018 we’ll be putting our clocks one hour forward. One of the best things to do with kids is start moving their bedtime forward by 10 minutes each night now, in the lead up to daylight savings beginning. Start the whole bedtime routine 10 minutes later. If the normal bedtime is 7pm, change the bedtime to 6.50pm on the first night, 6.40pm on the second night and so on until you have achieved the desired bedtime. You might need to do this gradually over a period of 2-3 weeks as one hour is a big thing for young children.
Bedtime routines are crucial. With the start of daylight there is a change in light in the child’s bedroom. Try and stay in control of the light and what the child is used to so it doesn’t startle them come bedtime. It is widely known that light will affect melatonin levels (and melatonin is what helps us all sleep…so let’s keep it dark if possible!)
For older children/toddlers, talk to them about possible changes that might be happening and prepare them for these changes. Toddlers understand a lot and they often do not respond well when confronted with something completely unexpected.
For younger babies who we cannot reason with try and use the above technique of changing routines in 10 minute increments. Push back a bedtime feed (if only by a few minutes) each night over a period of 1-3 weeks.
Another great tool for toddlers in the lead up to daylight savings is the Sleepy Starz Sleep Clock which gets children excited about going to bed. The clock uses child friendly and calming images to teach children when it’s time to go to bed and when they are allowed to get out of bed in the morning. The clock was specifically created to fit into any child’s normal bedtime routine and actually works because it uses the theory of night is for sleeping and day time is to be awake. However, it does not have the outside environment in terms of light and dark which is confusing to children when daylight savings comes around and it’s still light outside at 9pm.
The Sleepy Starz Sleep Clock is a must have for parents of fussy toddlers and can be purchased from www.sleepystarz.com/sleep-clock/
Written by Emily Duffell – CEO of Sleepy Starz