WITH the clocks going back this weekend, Children in Northern Ireland (CiNI) has put together five useful tips to help parents manage their child’s routine and avoid sleep being disrupted for the family.
Ellen Finlay, Policy Officer for CiNI which operates Parentline NI, a free and confidential listening ear service offering advice, support and guidance said: “When British Summer Time ends, it is heralded with a wonderful extra hour in bed. That is unless of course you have small children who don’t understand the clocks go forward in Spring and fall back in Autumn. It can really throw them out of sync as their internal body clock is just the same as it was the day before.
Parentline NI often get calls about bedtime routines so parents don’t push the panic button yet as we are here to help! There are some simple steps you can take to help your child, and yourself, get through this change in routine that will hopefully minimise the disruption for you all. We hope our tips can help through what can be a stressful time, especially with young children, and we remind parents that we are at the end of the phone if they do need any further help or support.”
Top tips from Parentline NI on helping adjust to the clocks going back:
Before the clocks change at midnight on Saturday evening, start making small changes to the time of your bedtime routine in the days leading up to it. For example, start pushing back bedtime and change nap times slightly too. The idea is that the small changes will mean when Sunday comes around your child will already be starting to adjust to the time change.
Stick to your normal bedtime routine
It’s tempting to stay up an extra hour thinking you will reap the benefits on Sunday morning. But this isn’t the case when you have young children. Go to bed at your normal hour so you aren’t exhausted the next day should your children wake up early.
Keep mobile devices at a distance
Blue light will disrupt sleep and make you stay awake longer. Don’t let your children watch their devices or TV in the hour before they go to bed. This tip is also for parents to remember and will ensure you all get a good night’s sleep.
Use blackout curtains or blinds
The extra hour will mean it will be slightly lighter in the mornings so keep your children’s room as dark as possible. Use blackout curtains or blinds and ensure no daylight can creep into the room. You will have a better chance of them going back to sleep for that extra hour if they still think it’s dark outside.
The extra hour can also play havoc with children’s appetite making them want food when it’s not time! Be prepared. Start changing meal times now so when Sunday comes, they have had a few days to adjust to the new meal times.
Parentline NI is open Monday to Thursday from 9am – 9pm, Friday 9am – 5pm and Saturday from 9am – 1pm and you can call free on 0808 8020 400 or chat online at www.ci-ni.org.uk.