This year, the clocks go forward at 1.00 am on Sunday 27th March. Daylight Saving (aka British Summer Time, or BST) helps us make better use of the light we get: moving an hour of daylight from am to pm gives us those nice long summer evenings. And, as most people aren’t hugely early risers (tell that to parents of under 5s!), studies suggest it helps us reduce our overall energy consumption. But it can throw your routine aaaaaaall out of whack. So here's some enlightenment: 10 handy tips for helping your baby and kids sleep when the clocks go forward:
1. Begin a week before
Start a week ahead and gradually move their bedtime earlier than usual, until you’ve taken the full hour into account. For example, if your baby goes to sleep at 8pm, aim to put them down at 7:50pm on Tuesday 22nd March, 7:40pm on Wednesday 23rd, 7:30pm on Thursday 24th, 7:20pm on Friday 25th, 7:10pm on Saturday 26th and 7pm (8pm new time) on Sunday 27th.
2. Make evenings darker
While you’re transitioning, dim the lights as bedtime approaches and close the curtains an hour before bedtime to encourage a sense that sleep time is approaching. It helps if their room has black-out blinds or curtains. Or get a removable blackout blind that can be easily put up or taken down, like the Koo-di Black Out Blind. It quickly suctions on to fit most windows up to 140cm high x 200cm wide and it’s great for staying away too. Just take it down and pack it away into the integrated and lightweight pouch.
3. Stick to the routine
Babies and kids love routine and predictability. Even as you shift the timings forward, follow your full schedule of pre-bedtime activities - bath, book, bottle, cuddle etc. - and stick to it, even at weekends. We love this First Time Dads Podcast called ‘So...everything you think you know about baby sleep is pretty much wrong,’ in which sleep guru Sarah Ockwell-Smith chats about lighting (consider pink-toned bulbs in bedrooms and even bathrooms), sound, sociology, evolution, physics and everything in between.
4. Make mornings lighter
In the morning, switching on the lights and opening up curtains fully to let in as much natural light as possible gives their bodies the natural signal that it’s time to start the day.
5. Reduce screen time
Put down electronics at least an hour before bed. As tempting as it is, that screen is not your friend before bedtime!
6. Serve sleepy food
What they eat prior to bedtime can help. This great list from Scope, the disability charity, lays out all the foods containing tryptophan, an amino acid which helps the body produce serotonin, its natural sedative. It also includes recipes for Sleepy Flapjacks and Banana Cookies and a helpful podcast on sleepy foods.
7. Tire them out
Plan busier days for the week ahead, with more time spent outdoors. Encourage them out of the buggy to walk more. If you can get to an adventure playground, and spend an extra half-hour there, great.
8. Calm them down
At KIDLY, we’re great believers in trying relaxation techniques, even for very young kids. Why not try some of these 6 simple mindfulness exercises to help them get rid of any of the stresses they might be carrying around. (We especially like the Silence Game, Drop Anchor and Notice Five Things.)
9. Get A Sleep Trainer Clock
This PurFlo Snoozee Sleep Trainer & Clock is perfect for kids who can’t tell the time. With an easy to understand display that has a moon to show them it's sleep time and a sun when it's time to get up.
10. Stick it out!
Bear in mind that the transition might not may not happen straight away, but if all else fails, there’s always coffee...lots and lots of coffee! We’ve also listed some products below that may just help you out and, if you need more specific advice, our Live Chat team would love to help. Just tap that purple button, bottom right.
Flapjack: Taylor Kiser on Unsplash