First a little bit of history to impress the friends
The change in clock was first thought about by Benjamin Franklin in 1784, when he wrote an essay called ‘An Economical Project for diminishing the cost of light’, it was all about reducing the cost of candles in Paris! However, it wasn’t until the 1916 that DST came to fruition in Germany to reduce fuel cost for the war effort during World War 1, the UK followed suit a few weeks later.
The clock moving forward for many of us is a mere inconvenience, we might experience slight tiredness at losing an hours sleep and yes it’s annoying having to change all the clocks in the house, but all that is soon forgotten when we get to enjoy the longer days..wakening when it’s light and going to bed as the light is diming. However, the same cannot be said for parents with babies and or children of a certain age! For them, this time of year can be a nightmare! Many families have just got their kids used to the clock change from October! Or their little sweetheart is just getting back into a good sleep routine after… chickenpox, a bad bout of teething, the cold, being on holiday or some have just cracked ‘the sleeping all night long secret code’ ? to realise…. The clock springs forward on the last Sunday in March arrrgh! Back to square one!
The good news is Sweet Little Dream Seekers is here to help – It doesn’t have to be a sleep ship wreck!
First of all, preparation, preparation, preparation
- Purchase black out blinds and/or curtains – these are a ‘must’ buy . Your child’s bedroom needs to be dark, very dark! So invest now if you haven’t already. Black plastic bags or thick black card taped to the window work well too, if money is tight or you haven’t had time to go to the shops yet.
- Expose your baby/child to natural sunlight. Leading up to the clock change increase your little one’s exposure to sunlight. It helps with circadian rhythm (body clock), which in turn will assist with the time change.
- Get adequate Daytime Sleep. Make sure they are getting age appropriate daytime sleep, whether this be one, two or even three naps, make sure they get it . A well rested child will cope better with the clock change than an overtired one!
- Purchase a sleep trainer clock. Beg, borrow or buy a sleep trainer clock! This is for the older child who will understand the concept of the clock, so around 3 year old and upwards.
Now to decide on the method most suited for your child
- Do nothing ? yip that’s right, make absolutely no changes to bedtime, do nothing. On Saturday 25th March put your well rest child to bed at the normal time. Then change all the clocks and keep your fingers crossed that they sleep until at least 6am. This is the perfect method for all those little ones who are, at the moment early risers! The hope is that once the clock moves one hour forward, they start wakening at a reasonable time – Happy Days
- Do next to nothing. On Saturday 25th March put your well rested child down 30mins later than normal . So no big dramatic change, which will hopefully keep the sleep waters smooth through until wake up time on Sunday morning. This approach is most suitable for the older child, who generally sleeps well day and night.
- Do something. 4 days/nights before Saturday 25th March, start moving everything back in 15 minute increments. When I say everything I mean everything…breakfast, nap, lunch, nap, tea, bedtime. For example if your child’ bedtime is normally 7pm, on the 1st night move it to 6.45pm, 2nd night – 6.30pm, 3rd night – 6.15pm and Saturday night – 6pm, which means that when you put your little star down on Sunday they will be going down at 7pm again…tada! This is most appropriate for the younger child and/or where sleep is a little precarious. NB. I’ve stated complete this in 4 days/nights, but you can take longer over this process if you feel it more appropriate.
Other things to be aware of..
With all these methods it is most important to remember, that should your child waken earlier than 6am, try hard to get them back to sleep, if you don’t, early wakenings may become a sleep habit that is difficult to break!
It’s worth remembering the clock change affects their ‘circadian rhythm’ (body clock), so even if they slept well through the change, they may appear more tired than usual. So with the days that follow be extra vigilant for them looking tired through the day and let them sleep accordingly , an extra nap may be necessary and will do them no harm.
One last tip.. In the spring and summer months, when we get to enjoy longer days and light evenings. Pull the blinds/curtains an hour or so before bedtime, I know it’s a shame to shut out the light BUT the darker environment will help your child’s body clock prepare for sleep and we all want that, so I am sure you would agree, a small sacrifice . zzzz
I hope this has been of help. Should you need extra support, please get in touch, I’d be delighted to hear from you.