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Tips for helping children adjust their sleep when the clocks change

When the clocks go forward on Saturday March 26 the lighter evenings are a wonderful hint to spring being underway and summer not far behind. For parents of young children though the clock change can be something to dread as that hour change can lead to sleep disruption. Here, Elizabeth Lovell from the Gro Company shares her tips as a parent for making the clock change a smooth one for your family.

Why do the clocks changing cause children sleep problems?

The clocks go forward on 26 March 2017. This is slightly after the spring equinox, marking the start of spring (20 March 2017), and slightly before the equilux - when day and night are equal and occurs a few days before the spring equinox, and a few days after the autumn equinox.

The change can mean babies and small children missing their normal sleep cues. Although just an hour doesn’t seem like much, missing normal sleep cues can disrupt the whole night. Not getting that adjustment right could lead to messing up their usual routine which throws sleep patterns out and affects the whole family.

What can we do to adjust our body clocks to the time difference?

There are a few things parents can do to help minimise the disruption and help their baby to make a smooth adjustment to the time difference.

Baby Steps

Before March 26 start implementing the change in small time increments. You can do this yourselves or there are gadgets that can help. The Groclock is a sleep trainer for toddlers that easily explains with simple images when it’s time to get up in the morning. Using the Groclock to adjust the bedtime and wake time forward by 10 minutes a day will make the hour less of a jump and more easy for little ones to deal with.

Stick to your usual routine

If your little one is a stickler for their bath, story, bed routine then stick with it. That way they are less likely to miss their usual sleep cues.

Keep it dark

A dark sleeping environment is more conducive to getting a good night’s sleep. As the nights get lighter it’s worth getting blackout blinds to help keep the room dark, or buying a product like black out blinds or the Gro Anywhere Blind which sticks directly to windows will help. Keeping the temperature at a comfortable level can also help children settle. A room thermometer can quickly let you know if the room is too hot or cold so you know how to dress them comfortably.

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