It’s that time of year folks. The sun is coming up earlier, and going down later, and Daylight Saving Time is among us. And while family and friends are looking forward to longer days and dreaming of summer time, parents everywhere are dreading the one-hour change that’s hitting our calendars in the coming weeks.
On Sunday, March 14th, we’ll “spring forward,” by setting the clocks ahead an hour and losing 60 minutes of precious sleep.
While the shift may not make too much of a difference for most adults, Daylight Saving Time tends to be ROUGH on our little ones.
Here are 5 ways to survive the time change with kids of all ages.
1. Wear Them Out
This may seem like a no-brainer, but when done intentionally, wearing kids out on Sunday can set you up for an easy transition into the new time schedule.
When the clocks spring forward on Saturday night, it means spending the whole day Sunday wearing the kids out. Take a hike, go for a bike ride, spend hours on the trampoline or at a local park. Soak up all of the daylight hours and get those kids good and tired for bed on Sunday night.
Of course, this will require some extra energy from the parents, but we think it’s worth it in the long run.
2. Invest in Blackout Curtains
As the days get longer and sunsets become later, this minor change will make all the difference ALL summer long.
When we spring forward, it can become more and more difficult to maintain bedtimes with the bright sun blaring in when it’s still time to go to sleep. Blackout curtains will keep the sunshine out and the sleepy time in.
3. Focus on Nap Time
One of the greatest ways to prepare your kiddos for Daylight Saving Time is to focus on their naps. In the days leading up to springing forward, make sure they’re getting solid daytime naps going into the weekend.
In addition, start moving naps back by 15 minutes at a time, along with bedtime to ensure they’re on track by the time the shift hits.
4. Use Dramatic Wake-Ups
Monday morning is bound to be rough on some of our older littles—the ones who no longer take naps and go HARD on Sunday afternoon.
Keeping the light longer in the evenings means the mornings stay darker a little longer as well. Help your kiddos get over the hump of Daylight Saving Time with what The Sleep Lady, Kim West calls “dramatic wake-ups.”
“Go into their room at the appropriate time, open the shades, turn on the lights, and give a cheerful, ‘good morning!’” West says.
This nixes all chances of hitting “snooze” 17 times, and helps the kids get ready for the day.
5. Split the Hour in Half
It’s all about baby steps. Rather than moving bedtime back by a whole hour and risking zombie children for an entire week, start by scheduling bedtime and nap times 30 minutes later for easier adjusting.
Experts warn that it may take kids a little longer to fall asleep by doing this, but within a week, their bodies will be well adjusted.
When it comes to Daylight Saving Time, a little planning the week before can make a world of a difference when the clock changes on Sunday, March 14th.