Daylight Saving time is less than a week away on Sunday, March 13th (at 2am, to be precise). While many of us are looking forward to longer days, more sunlight, and Spring in general, some parents dread the thought of their child’s sleep routine being disrupted. Despite being only an hour difference, Daylight Saving time changes are to blame for people’s disrupted sleep patterns, moods, appetite, and work or school performance. Parents have to deal with these inconveniences not only themselves but with their children too.
So how can you ease your children through this time change as painlessly as possible? According to WebMD, you should start dealing with it now rather than on March 13th. You and your children should both go to bed an extra 15 minutes early several days leading up to the time change. If you have older children who can read a clock and resist going to bed earlier you could choose to wake them 15 minutes earlier. Also, your child could be a “night owl” or a “morning lark” and this can help determine if they should go to bed or wake up earlier to best deal with the time change.
Slowly changing your child’s sleep and wake times is the best tool for this fight. Other tips are good to follow year-round, but are be especially important to keep mind this week:
- Make sure your child gets the proper amount of sleep per their age. A toddler needs 11-14 hours each night while a 10 year old needs about 8-10 hours, check out this infographic for all ages and their recommended sleep needs.
- According to WebMD, you should limit the amount of electronics before bed time because the light source will effect the quality and quantity of sleep. This includes TV and their phones or iPads.
- Stick to a routine and get the right amount of sleep now. Keep in mind the time change when scheduling activities or events the week before and be sure they don’t stay up past their regular bed time (plus factoring in the 15 minutes earlier).
Finally, be patient and understanding. . . . If you notice your children throwing more tantrums or being extra cranky on March 14th just remember they may showing signs of sleep loss. Try to adjust your own schedule next week so that you deal with the time change as well. And just know that warmer days and more sunlight are in the future!