The Clocks Go Forward This Weekend – Here’s How To Prepare Your Child For The Change

Sleep tips for parents and kids ahead of the clocks going forward this weekend.

clocks forward sleep tips

by Stephanie Modell |
Published on

Spring is on its way - here's how to prepare you child for the clock change.

At the end of March (Sunday March 26) we can look forward to the clocks going forward and the start of British Summer Time. Unlike the Autumn clock change, which many parents dread, parents of early risers can benefit from this adjustment. Youngsters who are normally up with the lark at 5am may start sleeping in until 6am for a while.

Some children adjust easily to the clock change but for others it can take some time, they will not be ready for sleep in the evenings and may feel groggy in the mornings. This can be a problem if you have to get your children out early for nursery or school. So what can we do to help our little ones body clocks adjust to this?

Sleep Tips To Help Your Child Adapt To The Clocks Changing...

By making gradual changes, you can minimise the disruption to their sleep. Over the next week, start to put your little one to bed 10 or 15 minutes earlier than usual. Every 2 to 4 days (depending on when you commence) bring this forward in 10-15 minute increments. The aim is to gradually reset your baby or child’s body clock until they are ready for sleep an hour earlier than normal.

When preparing your baby or child for bedtime follow a calm and focused routine, which may include some wind down time, a relaxing bath and a bedtime story. Keep the lights low as this will help your child to produce the sleep hormone, melatonin. If your curtains let in light, consider investing in a black-out blind. Avoid TV just before bed too, as this can inhibit the production of melatonin.

If your child doesn’t naturally wake in the morning at the earlier adjusted time, it is important to wake them to help re-set their body clock.

What Do I Do About Nap Times When The Clocks Change?

When regulating the body clock you will also need to adjust nap times and meal times in accordance with the bedtime adjustment. Eating and sleeping work in harmony when regulating our circadian rhythms.

In the mornings, open the curtains to let in the light and get outside into the fresh air and daylight as early as possible as this will help suppress the sleep hormone and will help you and your little one to feel refreshed and less groggy and hopefully enjoy the beautiful spring sunshine!

Stephanie Modell is a sleep consultant and maternity nurse based in Nutbourne, West Sussex.  Her books, The Baby Sleep Guide and 100 Tips to Help Your Baby Sleepare published by Summersdale and are available on Amazon and other retailers.

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