With the clocks going back at the end of the month, although we get an extra hour in bed, getting your kids into a new bedtime routine won't be easy!

Parenting on Female First

Parenting on Female First

Unfortunately for many parents the extra hour isn't such a gift! Getting children to adjust to the change in time can lead to a lot of very early mornings and upset bedtimes. Not fun!

Routine is key for children so making the transition as unnoticeable as possible is paramount. Babies and young children generally need around one week to ensure a really smooth transition.

Dave Gibson, qualified Naturopath and Osteopath and Warren Evans' Sleep Advisor shares his top tips to help your child, toddler and infant - as well as you moms and dads - manage the extra hour more easily and generally have a more relaxed period as we sync with the new time and season.


1. Making a change in bedtime can be tough on anyone, but especially children, and so plan it over the course of a week, or a weekend, depending on the age and temperament of your little one. For young children, it's often easiest to change the bedtime in 15-minute increments over a long weekend, so that it doesn't affect the school run. For adults, changing the time you go to bed by half an hour can ease the transition.

2. If your child is a born early-riser, then you should consider smaller changes over a longer time to be sure that the extra hour is fully accounted for. Alternatively, for a late-riser, you may find moving the bedtime back by half an hour rather than an hour will help. This will also give you more time to get ready in the mornings.

3. If your child is older, you can reinforce the new routine with rules that teach your child the logic behind the changes. Some parents use clocks with a sun and a moon and tell the child that they must stay in bed as long as the moon is out. This can be a way of reinforcing the lesson of telling time with the rationale behind having playtime and having bedtime.


4. Changing bedtime won't work if the rest of their routine is still set to the old time. As their bedtime shifts, be sure to change bath time, naptime and mealtime to match the new routine. If the bedtime changes are gradual - say 10 minutes over 6 days - then change the other activities by 10 minutes as well.

5. Don't forget about you! Be sure to adjust your own schedule in the same way you change your children's. It will make the routine move more easily for everyone if you're all in sync.


6. Make the most of daytime by keeping lights bright and curtains open a little longer to encourage children to stay awake. Another trick is to make bath time a little longer to help stretch out the time.

7. In the night, be sure that curtains or blinds leave their bedroom completely dark so the morning light is blocked out and children are not woken up earlier than they should be.


8. To help them wind down, always be careful what your child eats close to bedtime. Steer children away from drinks that contain caffeine and things that contain lots of sugar, especially late in the day, as these will mean an untimely boost in energy.

9. If you're looking for a bedtime snack, try milk, banana or cherries. Milk contains tryptophan, which increases the amount of serotonin a natural sedative. This is why a lot of old folk remedies include warm milk. A banana with milk provides vitamin B6, which helps convert the tryptophan to serotonin. Another fruit to consider is cherries as they contain melatonin, which the body produces to regulate sleep.


10. Plan days with heavy activity in the morning, particularly physical activity, and then a more relaxed and calm afternoon for the days on which you are putting the bedtime later. If your young baby is particularly sleepy you may even need to introduce an extra power-nap in the late afternoon.

And finally… Don't worry!

Regardless, any disruption tends to be temporary. Most infants and children get back on schedule within 3 days to a week.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk