British Summer Time is upon us as the clocks spring forward by 1 hour on Sunday 28th March. With a chance for many of us to be able to meet up outdoors and in gardens it’s a chance to make the most out of the lighter evenings, win-win, right?
But what about if you’re preparing for this 1 hour time jump with a little one in tow? How will it affect their routine? How should you prepare?
So, here’s my top tips for helping your little on adjust their sleeping patterns to daylight saving in the UK:
1. Do nothing
If your little one is typically an early riser, this is what I would suggest. Our sleep is regulated by our circadian rhythm (otherwise known as our body clock), which is in turn regulated by light and darkness. Therefore, their body clock will soon adjust to a difference of 1 hour. Just carry on your day as usual, keeping naps, feeds, mealtimes the same, and get them outdoors as much as you can to give their body clock the best chance of adjusting quickly. Within about 3-4 days, you should see their sleeping patterns back on track… so make the most of the later wake-ups whilst you can!
2. Understand your child
Is your little one sensitive to small changes in their routine / sleeping patterns or are they happy to go with the flow? If you find that your child is grumpy after a missed nap or often takes a few days to catch up on lost sleep, then it may be that your child has a high sleep need. In which case, you may wish to introduce a plan to adjust their sleep to British Summer Time. Here are two options to think about putting in place:
Before the clocks change:
During the week before the pending clock change, steadily shift your little one’s routine earlier by 15 minutes every 2-3 days in preparation. This will gradually begin to shift your little one’s body clock, which provides a gentler approach for a high sleep need baby.
EXAMPLE: Usual naptime: 12pm Days 1-2: 11:45am Days 3-4: 11:30am Days 5-6: 11:15am Day 7 (clocks change): 11am As the time jumps forward 1hour you will return to your original routine timings as the clocks have now adjusted.
After the clocks change:
This is the same concept as before, however, it is just carried out after the clocks have changed. So throughout the course of the week you would steadily shift your little one’s routine earlier by 15 minutes every 2-3 days in preparation. This will gradually begin to shift your little one’s body clock, which provides a gentler approach for a high sleep need baby.
EXAMPLE: Usual naptime: 12pm Days 1-2: 11:45am Days 3-4: 11:30am Days 5-6: 11:15am Day 7 (clocks change): 11am
As the time jumps forward 1hour you will return to your original routine timings as the clocks have now adjusted.
As we are approaching the time of year when the mornings will begin to get lighter, as well as those long summer evenings light can play havoc on all our sleep, even as adults. So it’s important to think of ways that we can help little ones adjust. To help keep their sleep on track, we can help by using light to help us adjust. Make a big deal about the light shining in the morning, open the curtains / blinds and say ‘Good Morning!’ this will help your child to understand that day-time has started.
Likewise we can use the elimination of light to help your child understand that it is now evening time. You can use close the curtains / blinds in your home in the evening and try to use dim lighting to trigger the body clock into preparing for bedtime. In addition, I recommend using blackout curtains / blinds to keep their rooms nice and dark so that it avoids those early wakes. As light creeps in during those early hours, it could be enough to cause your little one to stir. Spend some time assessing the room and think about other areas of the room that could be letting light in, such as the door frame, can this light be blocked in anyway?
If you have been dreading this jump in times, try not to worry. Think about the things that you can control and try to overcome. Either way, whatever happens, remember that a few focused days supporting your child’s routine will help to get them back on track once again.
If you feel like you would like more support, just get in touch or book a free discovery call today!