Many parts of Australia are now in Daylight Savings mode. No matter what state you live in, the sunrise is getting earlier and the sunset is getting later. This can present significant challenges when it comes to sleep and your child. Even more so for children with autism, sensory processing disorders or behavioural challenges.
We have some tips to help this transition and support a consistent, calm bedtime routine and morning wake schedule...
1. Get Physical: Studies have shown that exercise in the late afternoon (anywhere between 4-6pm) can aid the body in adjusting to the change in season and sunlight. Make sure your child is getting plenty of "green time", then they have time to wind down and are physically tired by bedtime.
2. Maintain the Routine: Keep the rest of the night routine consistent. It's hard to call children in from the yard when it's still light, but keeping dinner and bath times consistent will set the tone for the evening and give children appropriate cues that bedtime is coming (even though it's still light outside). Keep activities before bed calm - no crazy games of hide-and-seek.
3. Cross To The Darkside: A darker room helps stimulate the production of melatonin - a hormone that controls sleep and wake cycles. Black out blinds are your best friend. The Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind have suction caps to attach to the window and are fully portable and adjustable. You may not want to cover the entire window, but covering 80% will take the edge off the daylight outside (handy for both morning and evening sleep routines). Alternatively, some black cardboard from the newsagent can be easily stuck to the windows and works a treat.
4. Use a Nightlight: This may seem totally opposite to the advice above, but a soft nightlight (warm tones recommended for maximum melatonin production) can take the focus off outside light. It will keep the ambient room light soft, even as the night darkness finally rolls in. Try our Aroma Bloom Nightlight, which also has a built in cool mist diffuser and air purifier - calming essential oils like Child Calming Remedy (orange, lavender, mandarin and Roman chamomile) can be added for extra effectiveness.
5. Explain the Science: Find a story or information book about the Solar System which explains to children that it's the position of the Earth that changes in Summer, but the amount of sleep we need stays the same. Kids find information about the big, wide universe fascinating. Make a model to show how the Southern Hemisphere tilts toward the Sun during our Summer, and that's why we get more sunlight.
6. Clever Clocks: A sleep clock beside your child's bed is a fun way to start learning to tell the time. But it also teaches them when it's time to sleep at night. In the morning, it shows children when they can get out of bed (even though they may have woken up long before, they learn to stay in bed until the clock switches to awake). Sam the Sheep Sleep Clocks are cute, practical and super popular with children, ages 2 and up. Sam's eyes open and close at the time set by parents. And in the morning, the digital display changes colour and counts down the minutes until it's time to hop out of bed.
7. The Best Noise: "White noise" is any consistent, low-frequency sound and playing in your baby or child's room is highly recommended by sleep experts all over the world - 365 nights a year. But it's even more important in Summer, when the birds start to chirp at 4.45am!! Even that soft tweet, combined with a light sky can wake your little cherub far too early. You need to block that sound - and it's so easy. A simple, white noise machine - like our Three Sheep Sound Therapy unit - is a great solution. With the option of both battery and electric power, it will play all night, and block all those early morning distracting noises like birds chirping, garbage trucks, dogs barking, noisy neighbours, traffic - everything!
Did you know we have an amazing VALUE PACK containing the Sam Sheep Clock and the Homedics Sound Spa - 2 key ingredients to assist easier bedtimes and better wake times. With a 14 day satisfaction guarantee, what have you got to lose? Click here to shop now.
Good sleep is the cornerstone of a happy child, a happy parent and a happy family. If something is not currently working at your place, and you want to make a change, we are here to help. It's never too late to start..