As teenagers, most of us looked forward to Daylight Savings. What was gaining or losing just one hour of sleep to us? But as parents, it’s EVERYTHING. Because it’s not just one hour of sleep, it’s a whole week of whacked out bedtimes and cranky kids who don’t know which end is up and get up before the sun does. If you’re dreading this week’s time change, keep reading because we have some tips for surviving Daylight Savings this year.
1. Adjust Bedtimes
In the week leading up to March Daylight Savings (aka losing an hour of sleep), try gradually putting your little ones to bed earlier in 10-minute increments. Each day, move bedtime up by 10 minutes until you’re close to one whole hour earlier than normal. This will make Sunday morning, the first day of Daylight Savings less tiring and hopefully, your kiddos won’t even notice the change!
2. Manage Bedroom Lighting
Subconsciously, our bodies sleep and wake dependent on the light in our rooms. Daylight Savings in March means longer days, where mornings are darker longer (hooray!) so this will work in your favor for your early riser. Getting to bed may a bit of a challenge now that it will be lighter later in the day. Consider blackout curtains and keeping your little’s door closed (or most of the way) to mimic the dark and keep melatonin levels steady for sweet dreams.
3. Be Well Rested Going In
We all know how cranky kids are without sleep, so making sure kids are well-rested heading into Daylight Savings is a must. If your kiddos still nap, keep them on their nap schedule. Trying to tire children out before a time change usually backfires, because bad sleep usually begets bad sleep. Try and keep regular (or earlier) bedtimes in the week leading up to Daylight Savings to ensure they handle the loss of an hour with ease.
4. Do Nothing
For families with early risers, the beginning of Daylight Savings is a dream come true. No longer are we roused from a dead sleep at 5am by feeling someone staring at us. Our kids naturally sleep later, and despite having lost an hour, the transition can be smooth. It’s perfectly alright to carry on with your regular routine in lieu of preparing for the start of Daylight Savings. While this may not ring true for the end of Daylight Savings in late Fall, we’ll take what we can get!
5. Be Patient
Change can be hard for little kids, so when all else fails, be patient! Know that “this too shall pass” and usually children only need about a week to adjust to the time change-not unlike adults! You can treat this time almost like you would jet lag, where our bodies take a few days to adjust to a new time zone. Give your kids extra snuggles and lots of time to rest and relax.