Spring Forward: Managing the Clock Change

A child and mom share a moment reading a bedtime story together

Blog provided by Together Trust. Together Trust champions for the rights and needs of care-experienced children and people with disabilities, autism and mental health differences.

As the days grow longer and the flowers begin to bloom, springtime brings with it a familiar ritual: the clock change. While gaining an extra hour of daylight can be a welcome sign of the season ahead, it can also disrupt your child’s sleep routines. But fear not! With a few simple strategies, you can help your family adjust to the springtime clock change with ease.

Some families can just go with the flow and their child’s sleep changes naturally and that is ok, but if you are a family that prefer to do some prepping then here are some strategies that might be useful for you!

  1. Gradual Adjustment- Start preparing your child for the time change a few days or even a week in advance. Gradually shift their bedtime and wake-up time earlier by 15-30 minutes every 2-3 days. This gradual adjustment can help their internal body clock adapt more smoothly to the new schedule. For example, if there bedtime is usually 8PM, then you would do bedtime at 7.45PM for a few nights and wake them up 15 mins earlier in the morning. When It comes around to the clock change then you’ll be back on their original bedtime of 8PM.
  2. Stick to Routine- Maintain consistency in your child’s bedtime routine, even amidst the time change. A calming bedtime routine signals to your child that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep, helping them transition more smoothly to bedtime.
  3. Embrace Natural Light-Take advantage of the longer daylight hours by spending more time outdoors during the day. Exposure to natural light helps regulate the body’s internal clock and promotes better sleep at night. The brighter nicer weather means it is easier to get outdoors for a trip to the park, a picnic, a woodland walk etc.
  1. Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment– Ensure that your child’s sleep environment is conducive to restful sleep by keeping the room dark, quiet, and comfortably cool. Consider using blackout curtains to block out any excess daylight that may interfere with bedtime. This is especially important now as the mornings are getting lighter. You don’t want the sunlight creeping in too early and causing early wake-ups!
  2. Be Patient– Adjusting to the springtime clock change may take some time for both you and your child. Be patient and understanding as your family adapts to the new schedule, and remember that consistency is key.

With a little preparation and patience, you can help your family smoothly transition to the springtime clock change and enjoy the longer, brighter days ahead. Here’s to a season filled with restful nights and joyful days for you and your little ones!

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