Are your children struggling with the clock changes.
An hour back combined with disrupted schedules over half-term causes plenty of children to loose their natural sleep rhythm.
Not Sleeping? They May Be Over Tired
If your child isn't settling at night many children make the mistake of thinking that their child isn't tired. So then they plan a full day of activity to get them really tired. Often this is a MISTAKE - yes, bad enough to warrant capital letters. Often children have difficulty falling asleep because they are over tired. So making them more tired is making the situation worse. Their little bodies are exhausted, but their mines are totally wired.
Turn Down The Lights
Outdoor lighting is a lot brighter than natural daylight and can disrupt the bodies natural rhythm. Now the night's have drawn in, we tend to switch on bright artificial lighting to compensate for the darkness. These bright lights tell our brains that it is daytime. Then when bedtime rolls around and we abruptly plunge our children into darkness, they aren't sleepy yet. If you have dimmer switches, now is the time to put them to use. If not, use strategically placed lamps to provide the light that you need to function in late afternoon, but keep the environment dim enough to let your children's bodies get used to the idea that it's nighttime. This is the same reason that screens after dark are not a good idea. The bright white light is stimulating making it very difficult to wind down after prolonged exposure.
Get Some Exercise
Fresh air and exercise are great sleep inducers. To encourage plenty of running outside, go into the garden and set up a timed obstacle course around the climbing frame or whatever play equipment you have out there. Time trials are a great way to help keep children motivated and active, even if the weather isn't all that inviting.
Nature Is Calming
Getting outside brings your children closer to nature. And nature is soothing and calming. And being calm helps children sleep. Try to get out into a wide open space where there is plenty of green as the colour green is also soothing.
Too Hot, Too Cold, Too Dry
Along with the clock change came a rather abrupt change in weather conditions this year. For many families the central heating has been switched on over the last few days. This can disrupt sleep in a number of ways. Firstly, the heating will dry out the air and often when first used the radiators emit dust particles accumulated over the Summer. Improve a rooms air quality by rubbing down a warm radiator with a damp cloth. Secondly, if air gets trapped in your central heating system it can make knocking sounds that can be pretty scary for little kids. You can allay these fears just by explaining where the noise is coming from. Finally, as you snuggle down to watch TV after the children are put to bed, you might want the house to be toasty warm. Your children, however, will need a slightly cooler environment to sleep in, as our body temperature drops at night.
For more outside play ideas, check out the rest of the Wicken Toys blog.