Spring is in the air, and even though this time of year brings with it the joy of better weather and lighter evenings, for parents, Spring can often be the most difficult. With the clocks changing to one hour ahead, children struggle to adjust to the lighter evenings and mornings, causing them to refuse to go to bed, or wake up far too early. Whilst adults can adjust to this change simply by looking at a clock, babies and toddlers run purely on their body clock, taking days to adjust to this new routine. But as with all aspects of life, routines often have to be adapted and even though your child may seem like they will never sleep in again, they will soon adjust. To help make this easier, and to avoid long periods of exhaustion, we have created a list of top tips so you and your baby can enjoy all that Spring has to offer.
1. Bring Your Whole Routine Forward
A desired bedtime isn't typically a practice that is suddenly sprung upon a child. With children bedtime is a routine, where the day is slowly brought to an end and everything slows down. Our voices soften, then we look at bath time, maybe reading stories and then finally sleep. This whole practice helps your little one wind down into a calmer sleep. When the clocks change it is vital to move this whole routine forward, so that your little one associates these tasks to bedtime. Just suddenly saying that its bedtime to your child will cause them to resist, and sense that something is out of the ordinary.
2. Invest In Some Blackout Blinds Or Curtains
Creating a dark and peaceful environment can help your child drift off to sleep in the evening, and also encourages them to stay in bed in the morning. With the lighter evenings and mornings the sunlight entering the room makes your child think it is daytime, this is often the hardest thing to adapt to. Why not try playing some calming music as well as your child goes to sleep to add to the peaceful atmosphere.
3. Try Including More Exercise During The Day
Getting out in the fresh air and working the body is not only great for the mind and soul, but also helps your child burn off some of that extra energy. When it then comes to nap time or bedtime they will be less likely to resist, as the body is tired and needs rest. Be careful to not totally exhaust your child though, as being overtired affects sleep and causes irritability.
4. Set Clear Boundaries
If you are the parent of a toddler, you can understand how strong willed they can be, especially when they don't want to do something. During the Spring clock change, ensure that your child understands that bedtime means bedtime. State this in your routine buy saying how long bath time will be, how many stories you will read before bed and stick to it. Children will always try and make the routine much longer to avoid going to sleep.
5. Try A Sleep Trainer
For children over 3+ years, Sleep Trainers are a brilliant way to help explain the bedtime routine to children. With adjustable settings, you can program the sleep trainer to play soft, calming music and close their eyes for bedtime. When it is time to wake up, they will play happy bright music and open their eyes. For older children, there are even clocks available that change from bedtime to night time, helping your child learn to adjust their body clock.
6. Give Praise
Once your child has adjusted, then ensure that you praise them for staying in bed or getting up at the correct time. Your child will respond to this reward and start to develop good sleeping habits, making the clock change much easier.
Do you have any tips for helping your child adjust to Spring clock change? Share your tips on our Facebook, Twitter or Google+