Soon it’s time for that one our time change again. On Sunday the 28th of march we change to daylight saving time. This means that the clock changes from 02:00 to 03:00 o’clock.
Many parents are happy with the timechange to “summertime”, especially those who have early risers. Because this means that your child will sleep / wake up one hour later.
It’s only an hour, but this hour can be difficult for some children and can have a bit of an impact on their sleep. How do you best prepare your child for the upcoming time change? Below I’ve written down some tips on how to best prepare you child.
Some kids are a bit more sensitive when it comes to a change in their daily rhythm. The hour time change can cause a few restless nights.
A slow transition where the hour is slowly reduced until the new bedtime is reached works well for many children. It’s best to start about a week before the time changes. In this week you can bring your child approx 10 min. early to bed over several days.
Start getting your child to bed 10 to 15 minutes earlier about a week before the time changes, and move back the time every few days until you reach a full hour. A week in advance usually works best. So if your child has a bedtime from 7:00 p.m., you move it to 6:45 p.m., then 6:30 p.m., and then 6:15 p.m. etc. If there is a possibility, I also recommend moving all daytime naps and meal times as well with those same amount of min. This keeps the schedule consistent.
Don’t forget to wake your child a little earlier in the morning to help with this transition plan.
Make sure that your child continues to sleep well during the day and does not start the night overtired. This will make the upcoming changes much easier. An overtired child sleeps worse and is less able to cope with changes. A good nap is very important so that your child starts the night well rested.
Keep the room dark
Since it’s longer bright in summer, blackout curtains could be a good solution. Blackout curtains allow your child to sleep better. White noise as well. In summer, children often wake up earlier because it gets bright earlier. Blackout curtains are also very helpful for early risers. Do you have an early riser, then take a look at my blog article “Early riser” HERE.
Daylight is very important
First thing in the morning, go outside with your baby / child. If it’s too cold for that, at least open the blinds/curtains and let the natural light in. If there is little light in the early morning, turn on the lights and make sure you go out later to soak up some sun. This will help reset or adjust your baby’s internal clock.
Age appropriate bedtime
Babies and toddlers sleep best with a bedtime between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., this aligns with our biological clocks. If the rhythm of your little one has shifted lately and got a bit off track, the time change is a good opportunity to gradually move your bedtime to an ideal time and get back on track.
Have a relaxing bedtime ritual
Babies and toddlers need routine. Most likely, you have a series of activities that your child knows is time to prepare for sleep. A bath, a story, putting on pajamas, a kiss and a song – all of this has to be moved to make up for the lost hour. Move the bedtime ritual backwards, just like bedtime in the week before the clock change.
If you haven’t had a bedtime ritual, now is the perfect moment to introduce one.
You might have noticed that babies and kids need routine. A bedtime routine is also essential and can help your child wind down from the day and prepare themselves for sleep. Should you not have a bedtime ritual yet, now is the perfect time to start with one.
Many of you might already have a nice and rexing bedtime routine with a series of activies like bathing, cuddling, book reading, kisses and songs. Make sure to also move your bedtime routine to the front, just like you did with naps, meals etc.
Don’t change anything
Adults and older kids often handle the time change much easier without too many issues. It might take about a week before they are completely adapted to the new time. If you do decide to go “cold turkey” and not prepare your child for the time change, make sure you that you go outside to the sun the morning afterwards to help re-set everyone’s internal clocks. Naps and bedtime can stay the same according to the new time.