This coming Sunday 25th October, the clocks will once again change, marking the end of the British Summer Time. And while most adults will welcome this extra hour in bed, it can often wreak havoc for the routines of babies and young children who find it harder to make this adjustment in one go. So here are 3 simple tips to help manages this change so your family can slot into this time change with minimum fuss.
Split the hour into smaller steps
Apparently, our body clocks are natural designed to move by about 2 minutes each day. And while the adult body clock can adjust by up to an hour if needed, babies and young children are much more sensitive to changes. Equally, toddlers who are asked to spend an extra hour in bed often don’t understand why things have changed so suddenly.
For babies and little ones who aren’t yet at school, you can tweak the nap and bedtimes each day by pushing them backwards each day until the eventual change on Sunday. You can either do this starting a week in advance and pushing it back 10 minutes a day or start on Wednesday and push it back 15 minutes a day. This means that by the time it gets to the actual clock change, they have already adjusted to the new time.
Older children, teenagers and adults can manage half hour changes so you can just implement these on the Friday and Saturday night.
By splitting the hour leap into smaller-to-manage changes ahead of Sunday, it means that your whole family will wake-up on Sunday on time and be naturally adjusted to the new time zone.
Adjust all daily routines
Meal timing can also have a big impact on our circadian rhythms and subsequently how well we sleep. As you are gradually moving bedtimes routines and sleep times backwards, adjust all of your little ones’ meal times, bath times and nap times by the same amount too.
Explain what’s going on
If your toddler is old enough to understand what is going on, it’s always worth fully explaining the upcoming changes. While some children will welcome the extra time with you at night, it’s always best to tell them what is going on and why you need to make these changes. Gro-clocks or other similar wake/sleep clocks are helpful to explain this as you can tell your child that they must start in bed until the sun comes up on their clock
And just remember, your child will still adjust to the new regime even if these steps don’t work out for you or you haven’t had time to implement them, so don’t panic! There is no need to be overly concerned at any stage if it doesn’t work out or fall into place straight away.