Daylight saving is near, so KINETA BOOKER looks at ways to reduce the impact of lighter evenings to encourage her child to go to sleep on time.
It’s coming… Not winter — daylight saving, when the days are longer and the nights are shorter. In many cases this means that your little ones will stay up until it’s dark (around 9pm) — because when it’s dark — it’s bedtime, right? That’s what I’ve been saying to my little one all winter, anyway, and it’s worked.
Well, it worked for winter — but now it’s spring I’m in trouble. Who’s in trouble with me?
The big question is — how do we get into the 7pm to 7am healthy sleep routine when it’s light outside? Here are some ideas to take back your evenings!
- Be prepared! By organising yourself now, you’ll be ready for when the clocks go forward.
- Start at least a week before — slowly dropping their bedtime back by 10 minutes each night. It might mean they wake up earlier in the morning but by the time daylight saving rolls around on 30 September, they’ll be back on track.
- Consider getting a sleep training clock — which teaches children their bedtime and what time to wake up. It’s a good idea to introduce this before daylight saving hits, so you’re not doing all these new things at once.
- Installing blinds throughout the house is a great way to minimise light streaming in. I’ve also been known to use black rubbish bags over windows with excellent results.
- Use blackout curtains or blackout blinds in your child’s bedroom, or hang towels on top of curtain rails to block out light.
Once daylight saving arrives — have a new nightly routine set to go:
- Call them inside earlier — because both active play and daylight stimulate your child’s senses.
- Close all the curtains in the house — blocking out the sunlight. It’s a nice idea to have your child help you — ‘Goodnight daytime’.
- Read books in their bedroom before bed — as it’ll hopefully be the darkest room in the house once you’ve got the blackout blinds up.
- Remember, it always takes a while for anyone to get used to a new routine, and going to bed when it’s still light outside isn’t easy for most people.