Changing to and from daylight savings can wreak havoc on everyone’s sleep routines, especially for your children. And when your little ones aren’t sleeping, usually you aren’t either. But surely there has to be a better way than to simply wait for them to get used to the time change. Well, there is! Which is why we’ve compiled a few tips that you can use to start getting your kids to sleep better through the time change.
1. Establish a routine
A routine is so important for children and babies as they don’t have any concept of time, but their minds and bodies generally know when it’s time for bed. This is enhanced if you set regular sleep and wake times at night and during the day. If these times are kept regular, their bodies will know when it’s time to sleep.
If you already have a good sleep routine with your child, daylight savings won't hit as hard. Try easing them into their new bedtimes by putting them to bed 5-10 minutes later every few days or each week. This time will depend on how well they respond to the changes. By changing the time minimally each time, it won’t be such a shock to their systems as their bodies will already be near its natural bedtime. Keep changing the bedtime until they have settled into their new routine. If you find that they are struggling with a 10 minute change, switch to a 5 minute change and consider the tips below.
Keep changing the bedtime until they have settled into their new routine
2. Create a space for sleep
During daylight savings, it can be difficult for children to realise that it’s bedtime at night because it is still daylight outside. Ensure their bedroom is dark enough to help them understand that it’s time for sleep. Open the blinds when it’s time to wake up so their brain registers that it’s time to get moving again. Also consider the temperature of the room. Summer will naturally heat the room up more, and if the room is too hot or stuffy it can affect your child’s sleep.
3. Mental and physical activity
Keeping children active during the day will help them to tire out and be ready for sleep. Summer is a great time of year to be active during the day and keep them moving. Swimming is a great activity for children and babies alike - just remember the sun protection!
20 minutes before bed should be time to wind-down. Avoid physical activity and focus on mental activity instead. Have them read a book (or you read to them), have them help you in the kitchen, play quietly, or simply talk to them about their day. Avoid watching TV or phones during this time as screens can be too stimulating. Other soothing activities before bed can include a bath with calming wash, a gentle massage, listening to relaxing music or a bit of time for snuggles.
4. Keep sleep in bed
As tempting as it may be to pick up your little one and rock them to sleep, it is important to let them fall asleep in their bed. This way they will understand that sleep happens in their bed and not in your arms.
If they need rocking, try rocking their cot, or playing some soothing music to help them nod off.
You can also consider a natural sleep remedy if they are especially irritable. If your little one has consistent trouble sleeping, you might want to consider seeing your GP to talk about alternate options.