Photo by Jason Weingardt
It’s the middle of February and the switch to daylight savings time is only 3 short weeks away. On March 10 we will lose an hour, and what is now 7 am will be 8 am.
You have two different options to prepare your kids for the upcoming clock change.
Don’t do anything ahead of time, old time one day, new time the next (or at least the one after that when the kids go back to school).
This works best with easy going kids that adjust easily and/or those that don’t nap anymore.
Ease your kids into it over the course of the week leading up to it.
This is recommended for kids that have a harder time adjusting to schedule changes, have a late morning wake up (past 8am), become easily overtired, and are still taking naps.
With this approach you adjust your kid’s entire day (morning wake up, nap(s), and bedtime) in 15min increments every two days like this:
Sun 3/3 7:00 am
Mo/Tues 6:45 am
Wed/Thurs 6:30 am
Fri/Sat 6:15 am
Sun 3/10 6:00 am = the new 7:00 am
As you can see, it takes exactly 7 days to end up at the “new” 7:00 am time. If you start sooner you can go even more gradual. If you can’t contribute a whole week to shifting your kid’s schedule, find a timeframe that works- even going gradual over two or three days can really pay off.
With the lengthening daylight hours, blocking outside light from entering the bedrooms is ever more important, so make sure your kid’s room (and perhaps your own) is really, reeaally dark.
Do YOU have a hard time adjusting to daylight savings time?
Sleep hygiene is as important for adults as it is for kids. A dark and cool room, no screen time before going to bed, no caffeine after 12pm, limited alcohol consumption, and sticking to a regular bedtime all improve sleep quality.
If you know that the time change will cost you sleep, it’s a good idea to prepare for it ahead of time by implementing a good sleep hygiene and getting your 7+ hours of recommended sleep.
It’s not possible to create a sleep surplus, so don’t think of this as putting extra sleep in the bank. But going into something like the change from winter to summer time well rested, lessens the impact of temporarily lost sleep.
No matter which option you choose, sunlight is the secret sauce that helps our system to adjust more easily.Get out and expose yourself and your kid to sunlight in the AM and again in the PM to help things along.
Which option sounds right for you, A or B? Let me know in the comments!