The impacts of daylight saving on your child's sleep routine

Getting children into a good sleep routine can be hard enough... but then daylight saving comes along, creating an extra challenge when putting your love ones to bed.

Moving the clock forward or back one hour can impact on an adult’s sleep for a couple of days as their bodies adjust to the change. It can take children a little longer to adjust, however there are ways you can minimise the impact of daylight saving on your child's sleep patterns.

How to change to and from daylight saving time

It’s all about preparation when looking to introduce a change to your child's sleep routine ready for daylight saving time, so it's a good idea to start implementing the below suggestions in the lead up to the clock’s changing.

A few days before daylight saving starts, look at putting your child into bed a little earlier (or later depending on which way the clock is going!) - he may not actually go to sleep until his regular bedtime but by getting him to bed earlier, you are encouraging his body (and mind!) to relax a little earlier than usual and this will lead to falling asleep earlier too - it just might take a couple of nights. This allows his body clock to start making some of the adjustments already.

  • Don't try to wear your child out in a bid to get him to sleep earlier - overtired children often actually take longer to fall asleep and may even resist sleep completely.
  • You may find that while you're successful at changing your child's bedtime routine to fit with the change in time, he may continue to wake at his regular hour - which is now one hour earlier than usual! There is little you can do to control this, but often kids who continue to wake early, get so tired after a week or two of the extra-early start to the day that they start to sleep longer. It helps too, if you resist putting them to bed too 'early' because they're so tired from waking early!


Daylight savings tips

  • The big challenge for parents during daylight saving is convincing kids that it's bedtime when the sun is still shining! Happily, the school holidays coincide with daylight saving and during this time, many parents are a little more relaxed about bedtime than during the school year.
  • If your child struggles to sleep in the daylight, try making his room darker and take extra care to ensure that his bedtime routine is as sleep conducive as it can be. No rousing games of hide-and-seek just before bed!
  • If your child keeps waking too early, ensure that he understands that you don't consider this an acceptable time to start the day. Encourage him to doze but if he really wants to be awake, encourage him to stay in bed doing a quiet activity. Some parents put a clock beside their child's bed and explain what time it has to be before they can get up for the day!
  • Children with good sleep routines have a quiet time routine before bed, stay in their bed through the night and don't need help to get to sleep.  They cope well with the changes in time as they know what to expect at the end of the day regardless of the time.
  • Generally, it takes about a week after the clocks have changed for everyone, no matter what age, to be in a new sleeping pattern so try to have patience if you have a tired and grumpy child on your hands in the days after the time change.


When does daylight saving start and finish?

The New Zealand daylights saving starts on the last Sunday of September and ends on the last Sunday of April.  In Australia (except QLD, WA and NT), it starts first on the first Sunday of October and ends on the first Sunday of April.

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