Daylight Savings is March 9 this year – is your family ready? “Springing forward” can be a mixed bag for parents. On the one hand it leads to more daylight hours, which means more outside time for the kiddos – yay! On the other, it means an hour less sleep that first night and possible sleep problems while the kids adjust – boo!
There are a few things parents can do, however, to help make the transition easier on everyone. Here are our tips:
- Gradually move bedtime back for a few days before the time change. Move your children’s bedtime back by 10 minutes each day for six days before the time change (or 15 minutes a day for four days before). This will have you automatically putting the kids to bed an hour earlier on the Saturday of the time change and will help their bodies to figure out it’s time to sleep.
- Stick to your bedtime routines. It can be tempting to give into your children’s requests for an extra glass of water or one more bedtime story when you know they’re going to bed earlier than usual. Stick to you guns, though, and proceed with bedtime as usual to avoid developing any new bad habits.
- Don’t try to wear your kids out. A lot of parents may try to make their kids tired earlier in the evening by waking them up earlier in the day, skipping naps, or attempting to run them ragged. This can easily backfire, as overly tired kids can actually take more time to fall asleep at night (and make getting to bed a much less pleasant process for everyone involved).
- Make sure the kids’ rooms are dark enough. Longer daylight hours are one of the best parts of spring but they can also make it harder for children to fall asleep at night. Help your little ones out by making their rooms as dark as possible. You may even want to consider investing in a good pair of blackout curtains or a blackout shade.
- Expect some fussiness. As parents we know that poor sleep can lead to poor behavior in kids so don’t be surprised if you’re dealing with more whining, tantrums, and fussiness this week. Whenever you can, take a deep breath and remind yourself that this too will pass before reacting to your child’s tired behaviors.
- Don’t sacrifice your own sleep. While a lot of parents will take steps to ensure their kids get enough sleep while dealing with the time change, we’re not always so kind to ourselves. Remember that you’re at your parenting best when you are well rested too, so do what you can to get to bed early yourself.
With these tips you and your family will be well on your way to happily enjoying the longer, warmer days of spring in no time.
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