We’re about a month away from that twice-yearly event that parents dread: Daylight Savings Time! We work so hard all year to keep them on a schedule, then one tiny hour shifts and all of a sudden they are up at 5am or not falling asleep until 9pm. Read on for our tips on how to get through it—bedtime intact—like a pro.
BUT FIRST: Join us every Wednesday afternoon from 3pm to 5pm for our Imagination Station Mommy Meetup at Lil Chameleon. We’ve worked out a 50% discount for this 2-hour free play program. For just $10 ($5 each sibling), your little one gets access to themed free play toys, with a different topic each week. This week it’s PRINCESS (Princes welcome, too!) Click here to sign up. The Meetup is mostly for ages 2-6, but as long as your little one is walking, they’ll be able to hold their own with the older kids.
Daylight Savings Time, AKA The Morning Killer
If you haven't started thinking about Daylight Savings Time yet, I don't want to scare you, but it's less than a month away. If you don't prep now, your little cutie is going to be yelling from their crib at 5am. Parents magazine has a great article with tips on how to convert them to DST without either of you losing sleep. Here’s what they recommend:
CREEP THE CLOCK
We can’t just move the clock back an hour and expect them to sleep until 8 when they’ve been a 7am riser all year. There are about four weeks until The Big Rollback, so now’s the time to start inching back bedtime and wakeup time. 15-minute increments should do. If your normal schedule is 7am wake / 8pm sleep, spend this week enforcing a 7:15 wake / 8:15 sleep schedule, then next week it’s 7:30/8:30. By the time November 4 rolls around, they should be close to being back on track for the clock change.
CONTROL THE LIGHT TO CONTROL THEIR SLEEP
Kids are even more sensitive to circadian rhythms and light than we are. If you want them to be drowsy by 8:15pm, start dimming the lights and turning off screens by 7:15pm. Conversely, if you’re trying to stretch bedtime by a few minutes to accommodate a later rise time, make sure the house is bright and active until about an hour before you want them to go to bed.
Then, once it’s time to wake up in the morning, get them going by turning on the lights and opening window shades. If you don’t have blackout shades in their room, now is a great time to invest in them. Home Depot sells easy-to-assemble custom kits that aren’t too expensive.
SAME ROUTINE, DIFFERENT TIME
Most of us have a bath/book/bed routine that helps our kids understand it’s time for sleep. Even if you hate routines, it might be a good idea to stick to one for the next month as you move bedtime back, to help Jedi-mind-trick them into thinking it’s not quite bedtime yet even though it’s 45 minutes past their typical sleep time. If you stick to the same patterns but just adjust the timing, they will adjust right along with you, and won’t fight the time change so hard.
DON’T SHORTCHANGE THEM
You may think the easiest way to change their schedule is to just keep them up extra late on November 3, hoping they’ll “sleep in” on Sunday and the time change problem will solve itself, but sleep is one of the most important things you can give your kids (right up there with a safe, loving environment and good nutrition). It’s been proven that kids who get enough sleep have less behavior problems and better focus compared to when they don’t. Ever try to be a decent human being when you’re tired? We can’t either.
So if your kid hasn’t been getting enough sleep, now is a great time to try to sneak in some extra winks. Remember kids between the ages of 1 and 5 years old need between 10 and 14 hours of sleep per day. We at BabyGotChat try to have our little ones sleep 11 to 12 hours at night and make up the rest at naptime, but check with your pediatrician to see what they recommend.
Plus, when you get them off to bed earlier, you have more time for yourself, and a recharged parent is a happy parent.
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
As awful as Daylight Savings Time seems, we do it twice and year and somehow manage to survive, so don’t stress too much if you didn’t get them perfectly reset by Monday the 5th. Things should even out on their own in a week or two.
BONUS TIP: DON’T FORGET TO UPDATE THE HOUSE
What are you going to do with all that bonus daytime? Use that extra hour in the morning to change your fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries like the good citizen that you are! (But seriously, it’s important to make sure that stuff is charged up and working!)
That’s it for this week! Don't forget to check out our exclusive list of every children's library program in Westchester. It's been updated for Fall 2018, so everything you need to know is in one easy list.
For more special events every day, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And if you like what you're reading, please sign up for our once-weekly email of events and ideas in the wonderful world of Westchester parenting.
See you next time!