Helping your kids through the end of daylight savings

4 April 2019

Helping your kids through the end of daylight savings

  • Guides
by Michael Grose

The end of daylight savings isn’t something that often fills parents with joy, despite the promise of “extra time” for sleep. In reality, a child’s biological clock doesn’t automatically change with your household clocks.  Your child may struggle to adjust to the time change even though it’s only one hour’s difference.

Here are some simple ideas to help children make the transition with minimal disruption.

Shift their sleep schedule forward

Push back your child’s schedule by 20-25 minutes on both Friday and Saturday. Adjust nap times (for toddlers), meal times and bedtimes in preparation for later sleep patterns.

Be prepared for early risers

If you move bedtime later, hopefully your child will sleep later. However as you would know, their sleep patterns don’t always fit your plans. If they wake early, encourage them to stay in their rooms. Alternatively, use an okay-to-wake clock which gives the okay when it’s time to get up for the day.

Get your kids outside

Your child’s sleep clock is regulated by exposure to natural light and darkness, and it’s reset every day. Take advantage of this phenomenon and expose them to natural sunlight once they get up in the morning and as often as practical during the day. Make their last exposure to the sun at 4.00pm on Sunday to prepare their sleep clock for the new bedtime according to the house clock.

Keep them busy

Adding extra activities can help tire children out, which could make them more receptive to sleep come bed time.

Closing:

Be patient if it takes a day or two for your child’s sleep clock to adjust. It’s usually easier to delay sleep, which is effectively what you are doing, than advancing it as occurs when daylight-saving starts. Each year we go through this shift and every year we adjust so remind yourself this is just another seasonal change.

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Michael Grose

Michael Grose, founder of Parenting Ideas, is one of Australia’s leading parenting educators. He’s the author of 10 books for parents including Thriving! and the best-selling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It, and his latest release Spoonfed Generation: How to raise independent children.