Daylight Saving Time is almost over, and in the next couple weeks our clocks will be falling back. That means the sun will rise and set earlier, and presumably you can get an extra hour of sleep. For many working professionals, this is a sweet autumn bonus, but for parents, any time change at any time of the year can turn their days into chaos and their kids into over-tired, fussy ankle-biters. Oh, and that whole sleep an hour later thing? Yeah, they didn’t get the memo. They are up, and so are you, at 5am.
Don’t anticipate the coming time change with nervous horror. There are steps you can take right now and in the coming weeks to make the transition easier on everyone.
1. Slowly push back bedtime. What kid doesn’t love being allowed to stay up a little later, especially on a school night?! Push the bedtime back by 10-15 minutes every few days from now until the time change. For example, if your child goes to bed at 8pm, for 2-3 days, make his bedtime 8:15, then 8:30, then 8:45 until 9pm. When the time change happens, that child will be able to stay up until the new 8pm time slot.
2. If your child is in school, do not push back wake time. This part is trickier. Obviously, you can’t gradually push back wake time if your kid needs to be at school. The Saturday morning before the time change, let your kid sleep in an hour later, if possible.
3. For children that are pre-school age to early elementary age, make sure to get them involved in the process. Explain to them what the time change means, and give children a watch. Ask them what time it is, and what time it will be next week.
4. Avoid electronics an hour before bed. This applies to everyone, even parents. Being exposed to bright light right before bed may interfere with a person’s ability to get restful sleep.A proper night’s sleep goes a long way to helping children to learn, grow and behave appropriately. Do your kids and yourself a favor by planning ahead. You’ll be glad you did.