Preparing your kids (and yourselves) for Daylight Savings

If you're like me, as a childless person you didn't think much about Daylight Savings (except perhaps to enjoy that extra hour of sleep in the Fall!), but as a parent it becomes a whole other ballgame. Kids don't care about the time on the clock changing, which can throw everyone's sleep off for days. Some of you may have been preparing for the change all week, gradually adjusting your little one's sleep schedule for a seamless transition—way to go planners! I tried that the first year and it backfired in spectacular fashion, so now we just kind of roll with the time change in our house and hope it works itself out (with varying degrees of success). If you haven't been planning ahead, here are some tips/game plans to help your little one adjust to Springing Forward tonight.

  • Pretend it didn't happen. Just change your clocks as you normally would but keep everything else the same—naps, bedtimes, meals, etc. happen at their "usual" time according to the new clock setting. Your kiddo might seem a little out of it or grumpy at first, but the more you stick to your routine, the faster they will adjust.
  • Control the light. If you don't already have blackout shades, I highly recommend them. We've had them since our little one moved into his own room and they are a lifesaver. I always had trouble going to sleep when it was light out as a kid myself, so I totally understand the impulse to fight back, and a dark and quiet room is a parent's best friend. Try bringing your kiddo into the bedroom earlier to adjust to the darkness and let his/her body trick itself into thinking it's night time.
  • Plan ahead. If you're reading this now, it's a little late to do this, but you can gradually change your child's sleep schedule by putting him/her to bed earlier in 10-15 minute increments each day.  If you haven't planned ahead, you could start this now, and take a few days to get to Daylight Savings. 

The most important thing is to be patient. Kids don't know how to tell time and have no idea what this whole Daylight Savings thing is anyway. It'll take a few days for everyone to adjust and get back on track, so cut yourselves some slack and hope for the best. And don't forget to set your clocks tonight! (Or just let your technology do it for you!)