Coping with bedtime when the clocks change
Tip 1 – How to prevent your children’s sleep problems when the clocks change
We know how it is, you’ve just got your child into a lovely routine, they snuggle down to sleep without fuss and wake at a reasonable time in the morning. Then, BAM! The clock change hits……
We suggest delaying the start of your child’s bedtime routine a few weeks before the clocks change, settling them 15 minutes earlier or later than usual every few days, until bedtime has moved. By the time the hour moves, the child will be ready for the clock change and hopefully stay in bed until the correct wake-up time the next morning. If your child is having day time naps you will need to adjust these in the same way, along with meal and milk times.
Tip 2 – Create a healthy sleep environment
A dark room is invaluable to promote sleep, so using a Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind can make all the difference when it’s too late to say night night. Bedroom temperature and constant noise can also affect sleep.
Tip 3 – Have a regular sleep-wake up time
Encourage a regular sleep-wake schedule, especially a regular time of getting up in the morning with no more than plus or minus one hour deviation from day to day including the weekends. A Groclock that allows children to learn to do this on their own can help. Remember to set your Groclock back/forward an hour before you go to sleep!
Tip 4 – Have relaxation time
Have a wind down time prior to sleep. Encourage your child to change their activities to something relaxing and non stressful in the half hour before bedtime e.g. turn off the TV and computer and read or listen to a story tape.
Tip 5 – Stimulus control – “Go to bed”
For many children “go to bed” may no longer mean “go to sleep”, but rather “go to your bedroom to amuse yourself”. Make bedtime mean sleep time – remove all stimuli not associated with sleep such as toys, TV and computer from the bedroom.
Tip 6 – Set Clear boundaries
Have clear and consistent boundaries at bedtime – when you say 2 stories mean 2 stories. Lack of setting limits at bedtime can lead to delayed bedtimes and bedtime battles.
Tip 7 – Have A focused bedtime routine;
Aim to carry out the same series of steps every night, about 30 minutes before your child goes to bed e.g.:
- A warm relaxing bath lasting about 10 minutes, a pre-bed bath should not be a play time.
- Go straight from the bathroom into the bedroom – do not go back into the living area.
- Dim the lights – this will help with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
- Have 1 to 2 stories.
- Say good night to the sun and turn the Groclock to night time mode, then leave the room.
Your child should be asleep about 15 minutes later.
Tip 8 – A Good Diet
Avoid caffeine close to bedtime as it can profoundly disrupt night time sleep in some people. A bedtime snack of foods that contain an amino acid tryptophan, is thought to make some people drowsy e.g. banana, warm milk, oat biscuit, whole grain cereal.
Tip 9 – Regular exercise
If possible encourage regular periods of exercise 20 -30 minutes three or four times a week. Research has shown increased physical exercise promotes sleep; however it should not be carried out within 3 hours of bedtime.
Tip 10 – Don’t forget the Praise
Reward children with praise every morning when they have kept to the “rules”.
A special trip out or small reward will do wonders to encourage them to keep going.
Most Common Things That Disturb a Bedtime Routine –
- Coming back late from an outing or visiting friends
- Friends staying over
- Clocks changing
- School Holidays
- Family upset or illness
- Something on TV the kids want to watch
- Eating the wrong food too close to bedtime
- Too much homework
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