How To Survive Daylight Savings Time (DST)
Quote of the Week
“You can’t stop time.
You can’t capture light.
You can only turn your face up
and let it rain down.”
— Kim Edwards”
THE HISTORY OF DAYLIGHT SAVINGS
100 years ago, literally, Day Light Savings Time (DST) was approved by Congress. This idea of “springing” the clocks ahead one hour each Spring through Summer was an attempt at reducing cost of energy in terms of illuminating homes.
Some states don’t practice daylight savings. They stick to standard time, like Arizona. Other states, like Florida and California are working pushing to practice ONLY daylight savings. Otherwise the rest of America and all of Europe switch between Standard Time and Day Light Savings time each year.
As a parent I LOATHE it. Trying to adjust my kids schedules just by an hour feels daunting - anything messing with my child’s sleep does, especially when I JUST got them sleeping through the night AND passed 7AM. Now I’m going to have at least 3 days of early risers and months of retraining which of course by the time they’re sleeping in again DST will be back in play.
So, like all things, I’m taking to the internet to learn what parents and experts recommend when it comes to getting kids back on schedule. Here’s what I found…
15 Minutes a Day
Take baby steps. Don’t expect to just go from a 7PM bed time to a 7PM bed time. Shift back in 15 minute increments. 6:15 on November 4th. 6:30 on November 5th. 6:45 on November 6th (US Citizens, REMEMBER TO VOTE!), then - BAM - come November 7th you’re at 7PM again.
Shift the whole schedule, meals and naps included, everyday by 15 minutes. Their meal and nap cues line up with their bedtime cues.
Keep Em Moving And/Or Engaged
When you normally start your bedtime routine, find something distracting to do for 15 minutes. Reading is not part of our bedtime routine, so we’ll slot in a few stories before bath time. Other options include playing a game or going for a walk. A walk at night is fun for kids. Let them hold a flash light and point out things that different at night then during the day.
Use Light to Cue Awake vs Sleep
The other thing I read, especially in those Fall/Winter months is to try and get outside as much as possible to stave off the melatonin (chemical in the body that helps you sleep). I recommend these rain suits. Your kids can splish splash all they want and protect their clothes and reduce your laundry. In the evening, to help your kids feel like it’s still daytime/playtime keep the house bright. This will help keep that melatonin at bay too. When you start your bed time routine, turn the lights down, lower your voices, and start the process.
You have three options here depending on how much you rely on the clocks:
- Do nothing. Accept the change - kids going to bed an hour earlier and waking up an hour earlier.
- Ease in like described up top shifting their schedule 15 minutes a day.
- Shift everything one hour right out of the gate. I know daycares tend to do this. If you’re child is in school and this is the case you may want to align with their schedule.
No matter which option you choose, you can certainly expect some toddler tantrum fall out. It’s to be expected. They’re going to be more tired and confused as they figure out which way is up. Make your peace with it now. Practice taking deep breathes in those moments when you want to throw a tantrum right on with them.
Finally roll with the exhaustion. They’ll be tired. You’ll be tired. A whole lot of tired leads to a whole lot of tears. Just remember it’s not forever. 4 days. Also remember things aren’t carved in stone. If you try number three happen one night and you’re kids are just too tired the next, then push bed time back fifteen minutes instead of 60. Follow their cues. I found the more I fight my kids to adapt to the schedule I want when I want it everyone is 10x more miserable. Where when I quote, un quote, Roll With the Homies, they tend to get there eventually with less battles and tears.
They slept SO well last night and had really good naps today. I think they were finally catching up from staying up late for Halloween. So tonight, Saturday, I’m going to push their bedtime back 30 minutes. I think they can do it. I usually have them in bed at 8:15 but they don’t really fall asleep until 8:30 so I think they could easily make it to 8:45. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Just breathe… this is zero fun and it looks like some states are working to end this insanity. In the meantime, for those of us not in Arizona or Hawaii may the Force be with you… and a very tall glass of wine.
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