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Parenting with Grainne Ryan-keeping the kids in a routine

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The clocks went back last weekend and evenings are getting brighter, which is great news unless you are a parent struggling to put your child to bed. Routines go out the window as children can't understand why they must go to bed when it's still bright outside. The Easter holidays are also coming up meaning that routines can be left by the wayside as kids enjoy the freedom of no school and later nights.

Grainne Ryan
Presenter of Baby on Board Series 2. Grainne is a public health nurse and midwife and mother of three children. Areas of interest child development, parenting issues, adolescent development and post natal depression and works as a public health nurse in Ennis Co. Clare.

Keeping the routine going
As winter time will officially end on Sunday morning parents especially of younger of children may have concerns about how the change over will affect their child. Childrens clocks cannot be changed over night and need time to adjust. In my experience it can take 4-5 days to readjust to normal sleeping patter.

1. Change the routine by 15 min every night
Your young child will be tired earlier in the evening so start adjusting over several nights
2. Continue with your regular routine
Bath time, story time, etc
As we get such little good weather in this country I'm inclined to let children have more play time (weather permitting) in the evening plenty of fresh air. Even if children are allowed a little extra play time continue with the night time routine.
3. Open up blinds/curtains and window in advance of waking your child and let in natrual sunlight
If you are going out to work or have older children to take to school (time restrictions in the am) and your baby has adjusted to the time this is a good trick and it allows children to wake up naturally.
4. Take advantage of extra day light to play outdoors with your children
Even if the children put up a struggle be consistent with your family routine.

5. Model Good Behaviour
You can help your child get the rest he needs by setting an example of healthy sleeping habits yourself.
. Go to bed and rise at set times.
. Keep activities quiet at bedtime.
. Get rid of sleep distractions in your bedroom.
. Be organized for morning rush

Set Priorities
If your child needs to catch a few extra winks, structure her day with a good night's rest in mind.
. Make adequate sleep more important than school outings, homework, visits with friends and television shows.
. Schedule naps after school for younger children and quiet rest periods for older kids.
. Take in to account the individuality/personality of the child