Spring Forward – A Parents’ Survival Guide to Deal With The Clock Change
As we head towards the one event that strikes fear through the hearts of all parents – THE CLOCK CHANGE – Jo Butterworth, local Sleep Nanny Consultant, shares her advice on how to make it a smoother transition.
Hi there, I’m Jo, mum to two wonderful (and demanding) young children and a Certified Sleep Nanny Consultant with over 10 years experience of children’s sleep. I’m truly passionate about helping families get a better night’s sleep, as I have been there myself and I understand the issues that arise from sleep problems and sleep deprivation. I help families across the UK to get the sleep they need and I educate and support parents on forming healthy sleep habits, to get a much better night’s sleep. I’m delighted to be able to provide Mumbler with my TOP TIPS for dealing with this weekend’s clock change, as I know it causes dread and anxiety for many parents who worry about how it will affect their child’s sleep!
In the UK, BST commences this Sunday! Eeek! That’s British SUMMER time for anyone in doubt. And I can tell you, right now, I’m in serious doubt, as I spent last Saturday digging my car out from a mini snow drift and building a rather forlorn-looking snowman with my children. But the sun seems to be back and now we turn to the joy that is SPRING! Hurrah! Sunshine… Daffodils…Crocus…longer daytime hours (maybe a BBQ or two), the dream that summer will soon follow….. and yes, the CLOCK CHANGE this coming weekend.
Are you anxious about how this might throw your child’s sleep pattern, or are you suddenly happy, knowing that your early riser will wake up at 7.30am rather than 6.30am?
It’s natural for the clock change to spark a little worry for parents over how it will affect their children, especially if you are feeling sleep deprived. It’s also normal to wonder how best to deal with it. I’m often asked how to tackle this and so I want to share with you the three options I work with:
You can go “cold turkey”. So just shift to the new time straight away, without any fuss or acknowledgement to any change. I’ve found many children will adapt well to this with little or no effect. If the usual bedtime is 7pm, just put your child down at 6pm on Saturday night. This option works well for children with easy going and flexible temperaments.
You could opt to gradually move your child’s bedtime earlier in 15 minute increments on the four nights running up to the clock change. For example, if your child’s usual bedtime is 7pm, put them down at 6.45pm on Wednesday night, 6.30pm on Thursday night, 6.15pm on Friday night and 6pm on Saturday night. This option works well for children with more sensitive temperaments.
You can also “split the difference” and put your child to bed 30 minutes earlier. So, based on a normal 7pm bedtime, put them down at 6.30pm on Saturday night.
Whichever option you decide to try, these additional tips can also help to deal with the Spring Forward changes….
A dark room promotes better sleep, so make sure you have blackout blinds or room-darkening shades/ curtains in place. Aim to shut out every chink of light. When lighter mornings and evenings arrive, it can be easy for children to become confused about bedtime and think it’s not time for bed! If you don’t have a blackout blind, you can get travel options that work equally as well, or just hang a sheet over your curtain to add another layer.
If you use a nightlight or feel you need a small amount of light in your child’s room, then use a low watt, red or amber nightlight.
Get out and about! Exposing your children to natural daylight works wonders for their internal body clocks. If you are unable to get outside then that’s ok, bright indoor lights will do.
Don’t wait for sleepy clues and put your child down as soon as you see the signs. They might not happen as normal with the time change, so keep a close watch.
An earlier bedtime is actually more likely to help your child sleep longer
Watch for overtiredness. If your child seems consistently overtired by bedtime, an emergency cat nap of no more than 30 minutes and at no later than 4pm, could see them through and set them on the path to a better night’s sleep.
A day/night clock is brilliant for a toddler who need to know when it is time to get up or stay in bed. I can direct you to these if you need any help.
And don’t forget to grab an early night on Saturday too. We lose an hours sleep overnight and you will want to be well rested to deal with a potentially tired little one as they adjust to the change.
If your family is suffering from sleep challenges more generally then please read on
You might be at your wits end, exhausted and unable to function properly, wanting so much to enjoy your time with your precious little one, but you now need a little help and oh…some more sleep, right?
Poor sleep can affect both the mental and emotional well-being of parents and children. Tiredness takes over, forgetfulness kicks in and concentration diminishes. Your child’s behaviour may deteriorate and family relationships can be put under strain. Sounds familiar? I get it!
Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. I totally understand and I fully empathise. I used gentle sleep training on both my children for that reason (and I had “tricky” babies). My eldest had the dreaded colic and my youngest was plagued with silent reflux….ouch! They now sleep amazingly well and have done since I used the gentle sleep training techniques I use with my clients. In fact, my clients all report amazing successes too. This is because I give them the knowledge of my extensive training and my heartfelt support to succeed from day one.
I work with all ages from birth to 6 years and my areas of expertise cover: – Night waking – Early rising – Gently removing feeding/rocking to sleep – Naps – catnapping, nap refusal and nap transitions – Only sleeping in the car, pram or on you! – Bed time battles/ bed hopping – Transitioning to a big bed – Routine and structure – Co sleeping – Breast and bottle feeding – Travel and time zones – Twins – Ditching the dummy
I create a personalised plan to suit each family and support them every step of the way, arming my clients with the tools and the knowledge needed to help them get their child sleeping more soundly,and the confidence to implement that plan.
Initially, I offer a totally FREE 15 MINUTE CALL to all families wanting a little help getting a better night’s sleep.