Hands up who’s looking forward to an extra hour when the clocks go back?
I know I am (with a bit of luck I might get an extra 10 minutes in bed) but what I’m not looking forward to is the inevitable disruption to the kids’ bedtime routine that comes with it.
When the kids were really small I found ignoring daylight saving clock changes was the best policy – after all, what’s an hour here or there when they’re tiny?
But now they’re bigger things are a bit different – they notice if it’s still light when they’re going to bed, and they’re not very good about going to bed if they think it’s ‘earlier’ than usual either.
So, what can we do to mitigate the impact of the clocks going forward – and back? Deena Billings, head of childcare at Busy Bees Day Nurseries, who has more than 25 years’ experience working with babies and children, has these top tips.
5 bedtime clock change tips for kids
1. Avoid technology
“Approach bedtime positively, avoiding overstimulation and screen time,” advises Deena. Which of course is easier said than done when you’re trying to clear up tea, get baths ready etcetera etcetera and you know the TV or tablets will keep them quiet. But don’t do it!
2. Embrace the calm
“Use a calming voice and the same phrase, such as ‘sleep time now’ each night,” Deena says. “If they struggle to sleep, practice relaxation techniques with them.” (The CBeebies website has some fab suggestions for relaxation techniques to try with little people).
3. Put toys away
“Ensure toys can be put away at bedtime so they’re not tempted to play,” says Deena. Other than cuddly toys and books, I don’t allow anything on the kids’ beds, no matter how much they beg me to take this piece of lego or that squishee to bed with them. Life is just so much easier that way!
4. Think about lighting
“Daytime naps can be in a light room and you needn’t worry about ordinary noises, but at bedtime lights should be low,” she says. I don’t know about you, but mine hate going to sleep in the dark (probably something to do with having a mummy who’s scared of the dark!) so we have various night lights dotted about the room, which are bright enough to see but not bright enough to distract.
5. Embed a routine
“From three months old, introducing a routine, such as bath and a story before bed can be helpful, as well as quality one-on-one time,” Deena says. “Routines will take time to embed so give it some time!” We do our best at bedtime, but even now our bedtime routine can sometimes go out of the window. That said, I’ll be making a conscious effort to stick to it as the clocks go back and we hunker down for winter.
Do you have any top tips for coping with bedtime when the clocks change? I’d love to know what they are!