Clocks are going forward on 27th March and some parents may be getting worried about how this will affect bed time for young children.
Routine is key, and the clock changes can skew your usual bedtime rituals, and lose your children hours of sleep.
Toddlers need at least 12 hours sleep to help them grow and develop, and the transition into daylight saving time can be tough on their night time routine. Losing just one hour of sleep a day can negatively impact your child’s concentration, mood and even their appetite.
Here are our five top tips for helping you and your kid by helping to ease you into the new daylight savings routine.
1. Plan in advance
A top tip for you would be to purposefully push your child’s bedtime back by 10 to 15 minutes earlier each day until the transition happens from standard time to daylight saving time. It also helps if you wake up your children earlier on the Saturday before as that will help their body adjust naturally and let them ease into the new time shift.
Toddlers should get about 12 hours of sleep most nights, while school children should aim for ten hours of sleep.
Consistency is key! This is what makes the time changes so hard for little children. Make sure that your child’s ‘bedtime’ and ‘wake’ time as consistent as possible. This is the same for weekends! Consistency can also help you prepare for time changes.
3. Natural lighting
In the run up to daylight savings, make sure that your kids spend as much time as possible out in the sun. By keeping them outside, it is beneficial for regulating the circadian rhythm – the internal body clock which determines when we should sleep.
When it is dark our bodies produces melatonin which helps put one to sleep. By getting outside into the natural light, our bodies produce less melatonin and allows you to feel less tired.
4. Technology cut-off time
You can help your child by not letting them get that much screen time in the evening. Avoiding the blue light that devices emits will allow your body to produce more melanin and makes you feel sleepier quicker.
Just one hour of screen exposure can delay a child’s melatonin release by 3 hours! For a smoother transition and for better sleep in general, give yourself and your children a technology cut-off time – I’d recommend at least 60 minutes before bed.
5. A nap may be in order
If your child is feeling sleepy during the day, then a nap could be in order. A nap should last around 20 minutes or less and ideally before 3 pm, as this will not weaken your child’s ability to sleep later on that night. Napping frequently and later on in the day, however, can cause more harm than it solves, decreasing your child’s drive and ability to sleep at night.