Daylight Savings; Springing Forward

Updated: Mar 12

SPRING! Finally, sunshine, warmth, flowers, MOTHER'S DAY, Easter and lots of nature, I love spring!

On Sunday 28th March at 1:00am our clocks move forward an hour, which for those families with early risers this may just be an answer to your prayers, that 5:00am wake up now becomes 6:00am!

There are three ways I recommend approaching it which I will walk you through below.

What to expect:

  • Lighter mornings and lighter evenings - While we adults love longer days in the sun, it can cause problems for the little one's, especially when they don't understand time. Early sunrise can cause those dreaded early wakings, even for those that hadn't been up early before, this is because in the early hours of the morning we are all in a lighter state of sleep so the light coming in can easily rouse us prematurely. When our children go to bed as the sun starts to go down later in the evening and we are not careful, it can be too light in the bedroom proving it harder for children to drift off. Darkness supports melatonin the sleep hormone, so the darker you can get the room the better!

TIP: I highly recommend blackout curtains or blinds to block out light sources, also white noise can be a huge help to sound out birds and outside noises that may disturb them more now.

  • Day and night routine shifts an hour - Children respond so much better to routine; meal times, play, naps and bedtime all shift an hour so keeping your routine consistent will signal to children what is happening next, helping them understand what is expected of them. Morning daylight exposure sets us up for the day and can help us adjust to time changes more naturally.

TIP: Focus on the day's events, get the children out into the fresh air and sunlight after breakfast to help their body clock reset, and of course tire them out ready for an afternoon nap or rest period so they have a settled afternoon the day prior to and on the day of the clock change.

Toddler clocks are helpful in this instance, but only if you have adjusted the time of the clock/wake up alarm for your child the night before, you really don't want to experience an unnecessary 2-hour loss on your Sunday!

How to manage the change:

1. Jump straight into the new time

Seriously, parents of those early risers, this is for you! Put your child to bed at the usual time on Saturday night, then when the clock changes from 1:00am to 2:00am and your child wakes at 5:00am normally, it will now be 6.00am (a sigh of relief for a manageable hour of the morning!) Follow your normal routine at the adjusted times and remain consistent, after a few days the body will have naturally adjusted to the new time. Grumpiness is to be expected, luckily it is short-lived.

Tip: Watch their mood and if you feel an earlier bedtime is needed, go for it!

Great for - older children and the early riser

2. Split the hour

On the morning of the clock change, bring your child's daily routine 30 minutes earlier than normal, so that goes for feeds/meals, naps, bath, story and bed. It may look like this for example;

Start your little one's day 30 minute's earlier (I know this sounds awful but it's only for a couple of days and the clock will still say it's later than normal but it will feel earlier to them) so if your child is usually up at 7:00am wake them at 6:30am, and the same for meals, naps and bedtime.

Then adjust another 30 minutes earlier on Monday, so on Tuesday, you are back to your normal routine timings. If they seem grouchy earlier start your routine sooner; some children adjust easier than others so there is no harm in adjusting the day as it goes. You may get a little resistance at bedtime but it should have settled down in a few days. It is important to follow and read the child's cues in this situation and keep everything as calm as you can leading up to sleep.

Tip: Watch their mood and if you feel a nap and/or an earlier bedtime is needed, go for it!

Great for - late risers

3. Slowly does it

A week prior to the clock change, adjust your child's daily routine by 10 minutes earlier each day, so Monday you would wake them 10 minutes earlier (if they wake at the same time consistently), meals 10 minutes earlier, naps 10 minutes earlier and bed 10 minutes earlier, so they would go down at 6:50pm if they usually go to bed at 7:00pm, Tuesday 6:40pm and so on, until they have reached 6:00pm on Saturday night, so when they wake up after the clock change, the wake-up time is now back to the normal time and routine is as normal again.

Tip: Watch their mood and if you feel a nap and/or an earlier bedtime is needed, go for it!

Great for - babies, toddlers and sensitive sleepers

Be patient, babies and children don't have a concept of time and but need time to adjust, so be flexible, let them give you signs, if they need an earlier or later sleep, allow it.

If patience is in short supply because your baby is already struggling with sleep, I have the resources to help you with that, please get in touch, don't suffer help is out there for you!

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