Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend. So at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, we all get to “spring forward” an hour! If you’re a sleep deprived parent like me, you might not be too thrilled about losing another hour of sleep.
I used to love daylight savings time before I had children. Sure, I’d lose an hour on a single day, but I enjoyed having more sunshine after work each day. I also loved that daylight savings time was one of the first signs of spring. When I had children, that changed. I quickly learned that children have a difficult time adjusting to the time change than adults. There have been some years where it has taken our family an entire week to get back in the swing of things after a time change.
After a few years of this chaos, I began to get work on a few parenting tricks. Our family actually begins the transition a little early. A few days before it’s time to “spring forward” I start adjusting bedtimes a teeny bit. Each night (or every other night), I let my little ones stay up 10-15 minutes later than I normally would. Read an extra book, spend a few extra minutes in the bathtub or have a few extra minutes of snuggles. Distraction is the name of the game. Let your little ones think they are getting away with something extra.
By the time Saturday night arrives, the goal is to be halfway through the hour transition. One year I tried to complete the transition by the actual day, but it just didn’t work for our family. Thirty minutes seemed like a much more attainable goal. Once the time change actually hits, we keep the same pace until everyone is fully acclimated to the new time. Sure, it technically still takes us about a week to adjust, but the transition feels a bit less harsh by starting it early. Most importantly, my little ones aren’t cranky a full hour (or more) before bedtime on Sunday night and Monday morning isn’t as traumatic.
How do you help your little ones through the daylight savings time transitions? Share your tips in the comments below, so maybe this weekend will be a little easier on all of us.