Pre-kid, you never really thought about Daylight Savings (what’s an hour here or there?). But nowadays, DST is a big deal because, after all, sleep is a rare commodity to a parent. So, will it throw the kids totally off their sleep schedule? Will it trigger regression and sleepless nights? Totally legit concerns. To help you out, we’ve narrowed down seven easy ways you can deal with the time change when it happens on March 11 without losing any sleep. Keep reading to see them all.
Change it up. Why not try doing everything earlier or later (depending on which way the clock is going)? Things like dinner, bath time, bedtime, etc. can be moved around so that when DST strikes, your kids won’t even notice. And if they’re too little to tell time, this works even better, because your kids’ internal clocks will start to get used to things before the real clock even moves. Need to extend bedtime by 15 minutes? Here are a few of our favorite bedtime stories to read.
Ignore it. Not the best strategy, but if you keep chugging along so will they. Just switch everything on the day of, and move on. Kids are resilient. Just try to keep their routine (mostly) intact. Just because it’s lighter outside longer doesn’t mean do a later dinner.
photo: Aikawa Ke via Flickr
Bit by bit. You can try moving the clock 15 minutes forward (or back depending on spring vs. autumn) for a few days leading up to DST. This will help set your kids’ little clocks before the big day so it won’t be a big shock the day of. Consider arming them with a cute (and practical) alarm clock to help make the transition a bit easier.
Think about the setting. Once the clock moves forward, suddenly it’s light out a lot longer. Try turning off inside lights, dimming lights, turning off TVs to get kids’ minds and bodies ready for Daylight Savings. This will also help them get used to a later-feeling bedtime. Plus, it helps alert their little bodies that it’s time to start winding down.
photo: Rena Tom via Flickr
Blackout. After Daylight Savings, the sun is going be coming up a lot earlier, which means it gets lighter out earlier. If you have a child who wakes up with the sun, you might want to invest in something to keep the sun out a bit longer (may we suggest blackout curtains!?). This way, unless your children hear otherwise, it’s time to stay in bed.
Be consistent. If you move up or back sleep time, make sure you work to do the same with wake up time, breakfast, lunch, dinner etc. Their entire day from top to bottom should still feel the same, even if you’re adjusting and fudging with timing. They shouldn’t even notice a change, especially if they’re too young to tell time.
Be realistic. Your child may not even notice a slight change or they may go bonkers. But it’s important to remember to listen to them, understand why they’re upset (still light at bedtime? Too bright in the morning to sleep?) and work from there. Children are each so different—who knows how they’ll each react or even how one will react from year to year!
How do you deal with Daylight Savings Time? Does it mess with your child’s routine? Tell us in the comments.
— Felissa Allard