In the UK we will all be moving our clocks forwards by one hour on Sunday 25th March to begin British Summertime (even though there is still snow on the ground!!)
Some parents dread this day and fear it will send their whole routine into chaos, whereas other parents look forward to having their early riser changing from those 6.30am wakeups to a more acceptable 7.30am start.
But fear not – the Spring clock change forwards is much simpler than the Autumn move backwards and I have three simple options for you to manage the change effectively and ease the transition. Have a look at the three options below and consider which one will work best for you and for your child’s personality type.
The 3 Options
- You can choose to go ’Cold turkey’ and just shift to the new time straight off. Many children adapt well this way and it has no effect on them. If bedtime is normally 7pm, simply put your child down at 6pm on Saturday night. This approach is great for easy going children and those with flexible temperaments.
- Alternatively you might choose to gradually move your child’s bedtime earlier in 15 minute increments on the four nights leading up to the clock change. For example, if their normal bedtime is 7pm, put him down at 6.45 on Wednesday night, 6.30 on Thursday night, 6.15 on Friday night and 6pm on Saturday night. This works well for those more sensitive temperaments.
- The final option is to ‘split the difference’ and put your child to bed 30 minutes earlier. So, based on a normal 7pm bedtime, put her down at 6.30pm on Saturday night.
Extra tips for success
Here are my bonus tips for handling the spring forward clock change…
Make sure you have your blackout blinds or darkening shades in place to shut out every last chink of daylight. With lighter mornings and evenings, children can sometimes get confused and think it is not time to be in bed.
If you need a small amount of light in your child’s room go for a low watt nightlight but make sure that you chose something pink, red or amber.
Get outside during the daytime. Exposing your children to some natural light in the day works wonders for their internal clocks and the fresh air is an added bonus too. If you can’t get outside due to our erratic weather lately (!) some bright light indoors will help.
If your child is over-tired by bedtime, an extra cat-nap of no more than 30 minutes and at no later than 4pm, could help them through and set them up for a better night’s sleep. Don’t forget – the more well rested they are, the better they will sleep.
A day/night clock is great for a toddler who needs to know when it is time to get up or stay in bed. There are so many different types out there so go for one that your child will like and understand.
Finally, don’t forget to get yourself to bed early on Saturday night as well. We lose an hour in the night and you might need to be well-rested to deal with a potentially tired little one as they adjust to the change too.
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