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Handling the Daylight Saving Time Change

Daylight saving time:

Read 6 tips for the spring clock change

It’s that time of year again when our days are getting longer, and we can look forward to warmer sunnier days! They are almost here! Daylight saving time in the UK is Sunday, 29th of March at 1am. The time change affects young children and babies very differently to adults. They don’t understand why they are losing 1 hour of sleep and they are likely to get much more upset. So, I would recommend that you pre-plan the transition so that the time change can be more manageable for the whole family.

I have three options for you:

  • Wake your child up at the new wake up time and they will lose 1 hour of sleep – they will likely feel a little more sleepy than usual for about 1 week
  • Let them sleep in on the Sunday morning and either shorten their nap or put them to bed a little later than usual
  • Shift their bedtime earlier 1 week before the clock change, this will help your child adjust to the new time smoothly

Here are my 6 tips:

  1. Start early – Start a slow transition to the new time by putting your child to bed a little bit earlier each night. Start this transition 1 week before the 29th of March. Begin by putting your child to bed 15 – 20 minutes earlier and move the time back every few days until you reach a full hour. For example, if your child’s usual bedtime is 7:30 pm, then you would start with a 7:10 pm bedtime around the 23rd of March, then 6:40 pm on the 24th…This slow transitional process will help make the time change far less overwhelming for your little one. Make sure that you apply these time changes to naps, mealtimes, snack times and bedtime.
  2. Blackout – I am a big fan of blackout curtains or blinds! These are a winner for any time of year as they are helpful for naptimes too. If you don’t have any yet, then I would recommend them, they are a great investment. Blackout curtains are especially helpful during the summer months when your child relates daylight to awake time and they refuse to sleep until the sun sets.
  3. Awake Windows – Make sure to keep a close eye on your child’s wakeful windows throughout the day. If your child is taking naps during the day then you will need to slowly shift the naps back too. This works best if you maintain the same amount of time between naps and bedtime. For example, if your child wakes up from their afternoon nap 1 hour early then you will need to shift their bedtime earlier so that their wakeful window is not too long. If it is too long, then it may affect the quality of their nighttime sleep.
  4. Daylight – Try and get outside first thing in the morning to help reset the circadian rhythm (your internal clock) Natural light will help everyone feel more awake on the 29th. The Naps and bedtime will all be according to the new time on the day of the time change.
  5. Early Rising – Expect your child to begin waking up earlier whilst you slowly shift their bedtime to earlier. If they start to wake more than an hour earlier than usual then try to intermittently help soothe them back to sleep, try this until it is one hour before their usual wake up time. At this point make sure to leave the room for a very short moment and go back in and open the curtains and make it clear that it’s now wake up time and it’s on your terms, not theirs.
  6. Take Advantage – Is your child off schedule at the moment? Do they wake up early before 6 am? You can use this time change to your advantage to help reset your child’s timings. If you have an early riser, then you could stick to the current timings, for example the current 5:30 am wake up will automatically become then new 6:30 am wake up!

 

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