It’s springtime at last! While you should be celebrating the lighter days and (hopefully) warmer weather, the change of time might play havoc with some of your family routines.
The clocks go forward at 1am on Sunday, 26 March 2017, meaning everyone gets one hour less sleep. So how can you adjust to the changes to British Summertime, and what can you expect?
1. The Times they are a-changin’
If you’ve got a strict routine, you might find that you need to adjust the times. If your child eats at noon and naps at 1pm, for example, “midday” is now 1pm and “1pm” is now 2pm on the clock. You have three main options: keep things as they are, change to the “summer” times, or adjust gradually. The latter option could work out best in the long run, but some parents prefer to just keep the time the same – lunch is still at noon, for example – and let the children adjust.
2. If they’re tired, let them sleep
You’ve probably read a lot of parenting books that insist you must keep to a rigid timetable for your children when it comes to feeding and naps. Not one second late, or the whole world will explode! But when we came to bringing up our daughter, it just didn’t work out that way. Your child might be rubbing their eyes for a sleep at a time you think is “too early”. But if they’re telling you that they are tired, let them sleep. Fighting to keep them awake only causes unnecessary tantrums.
3. Blackout curtains are a must
If you haven’t got any yet – and seriously, how have you managed without them? – you’re going to need blackout curtains now more than ever. It’s easy enough to take a child to bed in darkness at 7pm, but when it’s bright sunshine outside, they might not want to go for that journey upstairs just yet. Blackout curtains will make the room dark enough to convince them it’s time for bed. Some parents even have blackout curtains they take away with them, when visiting grandparents, for example.
4. Try starting the day earlier
I know, I know – sometimes making the effort to get out of the door with a baby, pushchair, eight million bags of assorted stuff, spare clothes and toys they just can’t be without seems like it’s a day’s work in itself. But if you’re all up and about early this weekend, why not take advantage by going straight out after breakfast? Or even trying to have breakfast out and about?
5. Remember – babies bounce back (and so can you!)
One of the great things about being a parent is seeing how resilient children are to changes. Things that you worry about for ages turn out to be minor hurdles (while on the flip side, things you don’t imagine are going to be a problem suddenly turn out to be a massive deal). It could just be that your child doesn’t even worry about the changes at all, and just gets on with it. And even if they find it hard at first, they’re going to learn how to cope eventually. You did, and so can they!
6. Make the most of it all while it lasts!
It might be too early to talk about it, but the nights are going to start getting shorter again in three months’ time. Summer doesn’t have long to run, so it’s worth making the most of the brighter days and warmer weather while you can – it’ll be autumn leaves and frosty mornings again before you even know it. So get out there, make plans, have a play date and enjoy yourselves!