It’s almost that time of year again! I for one love the lighter brighter evenings of the Spring and Summertime but dread the clocks changing - just that single hour, has in the past, thrown my little ones bedtimes out for weeks. I think I’ve just about got it sorted now and I’m sharing my findings with you lovely lot!
So here goes with 8 ways to alter your little one's sleep routine so they can cope with the clock change more easily.
1 - Keep the room dark.
The simplest thing to do in the winter but thee most difficult in the summer, especially if, like us, you have a big feature window in the nursery. Blocking the light out helps the brain know that it;s night time, Melatonin is a hormone that’s triggered by darkness. When it’s dark, our brains produce more melatonin, helping us feel sleepy. If your current curtains or blinds aren’t doing the trick then for standard size windows black out blinds work great at blocking out the light, especially the stick on ones. You can also take these with you when you travel so it’s a double win. If you don’t want to go to the expense of blackout blinds or they wimpy don’t work for your windows then another great trick is tin foil. You can use water to stick it to the window. It may look odd but it will block out light and heat!
2 - Have some wind down time
Make sure you have plenty of time to wind down before trying to get your little one to sleep. This can be in their room or another room. Make sure that the room only has a dim light and that stimulating toys are kept to a minimum. Instead choose books and toys for make believe.
3 - Stick to a bedtime routine
This follows on from my last tip. If you have a good bedtime routine in place then your little one knows what to expect and will get all the cues they need to know it is almost time to sleep.
Something like - a bath, then a drink, brushing their teeth, reading a book, then getting into bed works well.
4 - Get plenty of fresh air
This isn't usually a hard one with little ones, they love to be outside playing. Research has shown that increased physical exercise and fresh air can encourage sleep but don’t do anything to full on in the 2 hours before bed or this might have the opposite affect
5 - Alter bedtime gradually.
This is something I know lots of people recommend. Simply alter the time you start your little one's bedtime to be 10 to 15 minutes earlier each night for 5 nights running up to the clocks changing. This simple tip can really help make the transition smoother - in autumn don’t forget it will be the reverse so 10-15 mins later.
6 - For older children use a Gro clock
A Gro clock is a great idea for slightly older toddlers. If you aren’t familiar with these they have a light that changes colour from blue to yellow when the sun rises and it’s time to get up. So your child will know when it’s time to get up without having to ask you every 5 minutes from 5am 🙂
You can find the link here
7 - Slightly alter mealtimes
By moving mealtime back by just 15 minutes it can help reset your body clock. The experts suggest the following changes:
Breakfast - 15 mins later
Lunch - 35 mins later
Tea - 60 mins later
- TOP TIP Bananas are also a great source of vital Vitamin B6, which helps our bodies convert tryptophan to serotonin, a natural sedative.
8 - Get lots of natural light
Increasing your child’s time in the sunlight during the day helps regulate their circadian rhythm (our internal clock). Getting outside in the natural light helps our brains determine determines when we should sleep. When we’re outdoors in the natural light our level of melatonin (sleep hormone) is reduced, meaning we won’t feel as tired.
It may take your little one a few days to adjust to the time change, so don’t be surprised if they need to be woken up for a few days. You may need to be flexible but rest assured that your baby will adapt 🙂