Here's How to Survive Daylight Saving Time with Kids
With the start of Daylight Saving time around the corner, most of us are preparing to set our clocks one hour ahead as we “spring forward” on Sunday, March 11th.
Thankfully, this means the days will start to feel longer with more sunlight, but it also means that it is time for another shift in your child’s sleep schedule.
Personally, I can’t wait for spring this year, but after “loosing” an hour of sleep, the only place I want to be springing is back in my bed.
The thought of trying to re-work bedtimes and feeling confused and off for about a week is quite the headache for those with little kids.
The good news is, there are ways to minimize the effects of this time shift and help to make it a smooth transition for the entire family.
1) Prepare by going to bed earlier the night before. Truthfully, the concept of shifting bedtimes can feel a bit like rocket science. So, to keep it simple I recommend going to sleep earlier the night before-that way the household still wakes up feeling rested. Much like traveling to a different time zone, it is going to take some time for your internal sleep clocks to adjust regardless of how prepared you are-so going to bed earlier to avoid over-tired little ones is a good idea in general.
2) Invest in an ok-to-wake clock or other device that can help keep sleep on track. This is a great option for eager Toddlers who are used to getting up and running into your room in the morning. Having a child-friendly alarm clock that turns green to indicate it is time to get up can make a big difference to a child trying to adjust. The great thing is, if you already have an early morning riser, the time change will actually help to shift those early morning wakings to a more manageable time!
3) Encourage light during the day and darkness for sleep. Our body’s internal sleep cycles (circadian rhythm) are regulated by light and darkness and heavily influenced by our environment. This is why many of us wake up when the sun rises and start to feel sleepy shortly after the sun sets (although many of us go to bed way past sunset). You can help your child’s 24-hour sleep cycle by exposing her to light first thing in the morning and making sure that her room is dark during naps and for bedtime. If your child’s bedtime is on the earlier side, it may get harder to put her down as the days get longer, so blackout shades might be a good option in this case.
4) Keep routines consistent. As we enter a new season, schedules and activities can tend to feel a bit chaotic and your children often experience the impacts of this the most. Even with the time shift it is still important to stick closely to your current routine, only making minor changes if possible.
5) Try to be patient with your kids. As we all know, the effects of sleep deprivation impact the entire family. Children are just as confused about the time change as we are, and although our bodies will eventually adjust naturally, some have a harder time than others. If you notice meltdowns become a bit more frequent after the time change, try and remember that lack of sleep could be the culprit. I encourage you to set aside more quiet time and maybe even an extra nap while you all try to adjust to this new season.
Your children are more resilient than you might think so try not to worry too much about the impact daylight saving time will have. Our bodies know what to do and sometimes the best thing is to just go with it and hope for the best! #You’vegotthis