It's coming on Sunday, MORE DAYLIGHT! I said daylight, not sunlight. We might have to still wait for that up here. But more daylight is coming and spring is near! Springing Forward makes you think of long summer nights, being able to get home from work before it gets dark, and the welcome changing of the season. BUT, if you have kids, Daylight Savings Time might strike fear into your hearts, and the truth is, our circadian rhythms are so powerful that even that one-hour move sends the brain confusing signals. It can make things a little bumpy, especially if you're already sleep-deprived before the change hits. But don't fear, because there are a few tips to help make the Spring Forward Daylight Savings Time Transition nice and smooth. Or smoother. Because let's face it, getting little kids to sleep isn't always the easiest thing to do.
- Start the transition early with 15 minute intervals. Tonight, Thursday, is a perfect time to start. 15 minutes earlier tonight, half an hour earlier tomorrow, 45 minutes Saturday and by Sunday you are at the full hour. 15 minutes earlier a night is a lot less jarring for a child than a whole hour in one shot.
- Adjust their wake time in intervals as well. Don't let them sleep in too long because then the nighttime schedule will be out of whack. You might have some cranky kids for a few mornings, but that is what chocolate chip pancakes are for.
- Another option is room darkening shades if the sun starts waking them too early or keeps them up later. Kids’ biological clocks are exquisitely attuned to light, so blocking rays can really helps them adjust.
- Avoid late naps. They are SO tempting, I know, especially if you've been doing battle with a cranky toddler and they finally give in. A late nap will only prolong the agony of the time change. Keep them as close to their regular schedule as possible.
- Develop some quiet activities and a solid nighttime routine that can give both parents and kids some downtime and prevent kids from going to bed before they're tired, resulting in tears and frustration. Puzzles or books are both great options, and consider having your child flip through her own book while you catch up on your favorite magazine.
- Turn of the electronic devices well before bedtime for kids. Even if children get a full night of sleep, heavy electronic device use before bed can mean their sleep isn’t as restful. The visual and cognitive stimulation of electronic devices can put the body into fight or flight mode, which is very draining in the long term.
- Remember, it can take children up to a week to adjust after the time change.
- Another good tip? Use the Spring Forward as a reminder to change the batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector to keep your whole family safe. xoxo