Cozy sweaters, warm drinks and cranky kids...wait, what??? Yes, that’s what usually comes to mind when I think of the changing of the clock. Bedtimes jump forward and the crack of dawn, cracks even earlier than usual. This year I’m here to help smooth out this transition. With a little planning, the time change can be easy for your whole family.
This is the key to it all. Start 4 days in advance of the time change and move your schedules 15 minutes later each day. Let’s say your children normally go to bed at 7:30. This means you will move their bedtime to 7:45 on night one, 8:00, night two and so on, until you reach 8:30 the night of the time change. Most children won’t notice a 15 minute change, but skipping straight to an hour may encounter some resistance.
If we move the bedtimes up by 15 minutes, then we need to move the waking time by 15 minutes. We aren’t looking to extend our night time sleep. We just want to maintain the same amount of sleep we were getting and just shift it a little.
Make sure your children get enough playtime outside. Getting natural sunlight helps reset our natural circadian rhythms.
Evaluate the sleep environment. Is the room dark enough? Do you have black out curtains? Do they do a good job? The darker we can make the room, the better our bodies will get the signal that it’s now time to sleep. If you need to try something in the meantime, tape up something to block the light from your window, perhaps foil or poster boards will help. You can also get a draft blocker cushion to block the light coming underneath your door from the hallway.
Is the room quiet? Do you or your children use a white noise machine? Children often respond well to this type of noise. It’s very calming for our brains.
Is the room cool enough? Our bodies sleep best when the rooms are somewhere between 68-72 degrees. Remember, if you have a little one under 2, use a sleep sack instead of blankets to keep them warm in their cribs.
These minor adjustments can help sensitive or young people acclimate to the time change with relative ease. When Daylight Savings does happen, you and your family will be full of energy and ready to enjoy your favorite fall activity, like apple picking, leaf collecting or drinking a pumpkin spice latte.