For those of you who weren't aware the clocks change to British Summer Time this weekend. For lots of people this means they lose an hour in bed on Saturday night - 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.
If your children still have to make it into school on time on Monday like mine, or if you still have work, nursery or other routines that need to be kept you have the weekend only 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 use them all year round for daytime naps, and it certainly seems to help. Mothercare have half price Blackout Blinds* at the moment, the sort that you can use for travel, 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! 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 £19.99 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*.
With older children it's a bit easier. You can explainwhy we change the clocks (I thought it was something to do with farmers?), explain why the days are longer in the summer, or just tell them "because I say it's bedtime". ;)
Good luck with the routine changes this weekend, and if you have any ideas of your own please share them.