Adjusting the Body Clock

Daylight savings time always seems to come upon us so quickly! Your child might be on a predictable schedule with naps and bedtime and all of a sudden you are left wondering what to do, if anything, to prepare for the change. There’s no doubt that if you did nothing, it would take quite a few days for your child’s body clock to adjust (just as it does for us adults), in which case your child could become overtired, grumpy and wake more often overnight. It might take a few days to get your child back into their usual routine, which is not impossible, but the stress can be avoidable.

The Dilemma

Body clocks aside, the tricky thing with daylight savings is that you would be putting your child to bed when it’s still light outside. Moving your clocks forward by one hour means that if you want to keep to the same schedule and get your child off to bed at the usual time of around 7pm, you might struggle if their bedroom isn’t dark enough. Light inhibits the production of melatonin, which is a naturally produced hormone that helps your child (and all humans) get to sleep easily and stay asleep for longer stretches overnight.

What to Do

The way to combat this is quite simple. You need to block out all light from your child’s sleep space and you can do this by using blackout blinds, or you can even be economical and tape black plastic to all windows and use rolled up towels against cracks in doors. It’s true that going down this makeshift room adjustment road would make your nursery or your toddler’s bedroom void as far as winning any awards in the category of ‘best designed nursery or toddler room’, but if it means your child sleeps well, who really cares?

5 Helpful Tips

Every baby and child is different so the plan outlined in the infographic should only be referred to as a guide. You may have to tailor it to suit your own specific child’s needs and family dynamic. Having said that, there are a few things that apply to all children, no matter what age.

1. The darker the room, the better
2. White noise helps but it needs to be constant, for the entire duration of the sleep time and played at a decent volume
3. Continue your usual bedtime routine but do it in your child’s very dark room using a night-light or dim lamp, preferably after a relaxing bath
4. Despite the changes, stick to your usual bedtime rules and natural consequences and be CONSISTENT
5. Children who have been taught the skill of independent sleep find adjusting to daylight savings time relatively easy