It’s that time of year again when we all get ready to “fall back.” I’m talking, of course, about the end of Daylight Saving Time. I’m not sure why we still practice DST and am willing to sign any petition that will put an end to it, but the fact remains that every year, we still have to adjust our clocks and our minds for this change.
As a parent, DST is especially challenging. Kids don’t understand the whole time change thing and generally don’t care what the numbers on the clock say. They’ll get up whenever their little bodies tell them to get up.
While “Spring forward” isn’t too hard to deal with—I can almost trick myself into believing my kids slept in an extra hour. But “falling back” has always been a pain in our household. You try convincing kids that it’s actually 5 in the morning when their brains are absolutely certain it’s 6.
But in my six years as a parent, I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks for dealing with the time change:
Start making the adjustment a week in advance. Begin moving your child’s bedtime later by 15 minutes each night. Hopefully your kids will start sleeping in a little later each morning and won’t be up too early on the day of the actual time change. You can do the same for nap times if your kids still rest during the day. Try to push naps back a tad so your kids will stay up later in the evening.
Blackout shades. Once that first ray of sunshine peeks through, the jig is up. So keep that early morning light out of their rooms so your kids will think it’s still sleepy time. Once, when I didn’t have any blackout curtains, I actually took blankets and fastened them to the window somehow in order to keep the light out. Desperate times call for desperate measures!
Stick to your regular bedtime routine. Consistency is key, so keep your child’s bedtime routine the same as usual. Their bodies will be out of whack and they will need something familiar to hold on to.
Be patient and brew extra strong coffee. Listen, kids will be kids and they might not get the hang of this time change right away. Us parents will have to be extra patient when they’re up before dawn and throwing tantrums because they’re overtired. Just grab a cup of coffee (or two!) and hold on. Eventually, they will adjust and life will return to normal.
DST comes to end on Sunday, November 5th. Mark your calendars and get ready!