Put a Spring into your step

Does daylight savings fill you with dread? There is a balmy light at the end of this chilly tunnel, and with our tips for both flexible and sensitive temperaments we can look forward to the warmth of summer.

100th Anniversary of Daylight savings: UK clocks change to British Summer Time on Sunday 27th March 2016 at 1am.

Every time we change our clocks, parents worry about the effects it might have on their children and wonder how best to deal with the change, so here are three simple options to try:

Great for easy going and flexible temperaments

Going “cold turkey”: Just shift to the new time straight away with no fuss. Many children adapt well this way and it has no effect on them. If bedtime is normally 7pm, put your child down at 6pm on Saturday night.

Two options for more sensitive temperaments

Gradually move your child’s bedtime earlier in 15 minute increments on the four nights leading up to the clock change. For example, if 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. That way it’s a nice, gradual adaptation to the new time without leaving him feeling confused by a change in routine. Bear in mind you will need to start your pre-bedtime routine earlier too!

If your little one copes relatively well with disruption but you still want to ease her into the switch, you could 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 Friday night, then 6:00 pm on Saturday. This might be slightly easier for mum and dad to adjust to as well!

Here are my additional tips for handling the spring forward:

1. Make sure you have your room darkening shades or blackout blinds in place to shut out every last chink of daylight. With lighter mornings and evenings, our children can 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, amber nightlight.

2. Go outside! Exposing your children to some natural light in the daytime works wonders for their internal clocks. If you can’t get outside, bright light indoors will do.

3. Watch for those sleepy cues and put your child down as soon as you see the signs. These might not occur quite as you are used to with the time change so be extra vigilant.

4. An earlier bedtime is actually more likely to help your child sleep in longer- good news!

5. The clocks going backwards tend to lead to over-tired children, in this case it’s the “I’m not tired, mummy”, situation to look out for! Try to give them lots to do during the day to stimulate their little noggins so they are tired by bedtime!

6. A day/night clock is great for a toddler who needs to know when it is time to get up or stay in bed. Visit the Products page on my website to see which ones I recommend.

Finally, don’t forget to get yourself to bed early on Saturday night as well. We lose an hour in the night which is often the last thing over-tired parents need, so make sure you are well-rested to prepare yourself for the clock change too!

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