For those of you who weren't aware the clocks change to British Summer Time this weekend. To make it even more complicated than usual this time it happens at 1am on Easter Sunday so we lose an hour of our Easter Weekend (boo!). For lots of people the clocks going forward an hour just means they lose an hour in bed on Saturday night, but for parents this can mean a complete breakdown of the bedtime routine, as kids refuse to get up in the morning or go to sleep at night.
For most of us at least the benefit this Spring is that the children don't have to make it into school on Monday, but if you still have work, nursery or other routines that need to be kept you only have the long weekend to get the kids to synchronise with the new times. Help!
We've put our heads together, and here are a few things we think will help:
- Make the change gradual: Rather than try to make the children adjust the whole hour on Sunday, try moving their bedtime by half an hour over two nights, or 20 minutes at a time over three. It's such a small adjustment that they should hardly notice, rather than all of a sudden expecting them to go to bed an hour earlier on Sunday night. Never gonna happen.
- Blackout Blinds or Curtains:With this spring change where the clocks go forward it's the night time that gets tricky. All of a sudden it's light when the kids are going to bed, and that can really confuse them. We all know that too much light can disturb sleep, and blackout blinds and curtains can make a big difference. I used to use them all year round for daytime naps, and it certainly seemed to help. The best selling one is the Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind* which you can use for travel as well, or you can get very cheap range of both blackout blinds and curtains from Argos*.
- Tire them out: Very obvious, this one. In the afternoon do whatever you can to tire them out, loads of running around, get them out in the garden if the weather is good enough. Lots of fresh air and daylight has been proven to help babies and children sleep better, so get the pram or buggy out and about. This might have been what your granny said, but the boffins agree.
- Gro Clock Sleep Trainer: Older children will argue that it's not bedtime as it's still light. Just to prove the point that's exactly what my son said to me half way through writing this. The Gro Clock Sleep Trainer* is either loved or loathed by parents dependent on whether it has worked for them or not, but if it works for your family it could be the best £17.49 you ever spent! It's a clock with a difference in that it has no numbers but shows children when to sleep and when it's okay to get up with a smiley star, and a sun for daytime. You set the wake up time, and it does the rest. It even comes with a little story book to help your children understand why they need to stay in bed when the star is out. The cheapest place to buy this right now is Amazon*.
Good luck with the routine changes this weekend, and enjoy those lighter evenings. Summer is on it's way, honest.