We have a guest blogger today sharing her top tips for helping children settle at night after the clocks change. Sunny, bright evenings can mean excitable children and in Amy’s case, it is sometimes only bedtime when it is dark.
Losing an hours sleep when the clocks go forward this weekend is not the most welcome idea to me, but, it does mean that the usual wake up time will be an hour later. (for one day)
The biggest bedtime issue for me and many other parents is the lighter evenings, a couple of my children believe that it isn’t bedtime until it is dark………if that is the case, it will be a very long summer.
I thought I’d share a couple of tips that have worked for me with my five children, each child is different, and my middle daughter is deaf, so helping her understand how to relax, ready for sleep with the sun still up was important.
- Routine – Yep, everyone goes on about it, but it is the most useful tool to help children feel confident and relaxed about bedtime. I still read a bedtime story to all mine and my eldest is ten this year, it’s a great time to get together and end the day as a family.
- Wind down time – As the children have got older, they have their own “wind down” time whilst in bed. This time is to read, to write, or quietly play. Hopefully this will encourage them to make their own routine to get to sleep after I have said goodnight. I set a time and when that time is up, it is light’s out.
- But the sun is up mummy! – Yes the sun is still up, but it is time for bed. Try to remind your children of how much they can enjoy the lighter evenings in the summer holidays, but whilst at school, they still need their sleep to grown and learn. If they are in primary school, spend a bit of time explaining why the sun stays up longer, a quick google search together and
- Night time comfort- The previous points were not enough for my middle daughter, she needed more reassurance to settle to sleep, the quiet of the night was scary for her and she would often wake up disorientated and upset. Nightlights are a great way to help with comfort through the night, also a favourite toy to cuddle up with, she still wakes up even at seven years old, but she is more confident to settle to sleep on her own.
- Blackout blinds- I use these in my younger children’s bedrooms and they certainly make a difference to the sleeping environment. They are a great investment not only for helping to set the mood for peaceful sleep but also help to reduce the very early wake ups as the sun begins to rise earlier and earlier.
- Early waking – One of my children was nicknamed “the rooster” due to being awake at the crack of dawn. I’d love to share a magic trick of how to avoid this scenario, but, apart from using blackout blinds as mentioned above, in my experience, my daughter hasn’t changed much as she has got older. I have managed to explain, as she has got older, that we are quiet before 7am and that does work, and she will read and play in her room. I believe that it can be explained from 4/5 years onwards. Younger children and babies often wake up early for needs such as hunger and full nappies so should not be ignored. Don’t forget some children are just natural early risers like many adults are.
I hope these have been useful and if you have any tips of your own please feel free to share. I wish you all restful nights and relaxed children……we can all dream.