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Outsmarting Daylight Savings Time: A few tricks to help ease your children’s transition to the time change!

Huge thanks to Joanna Winograd of Wee Sleep Solutions for these tips!

The dreaded daylight savings is upon us! Suddenly your adorable children, who were happily asleep until at least 6 AM are awake and ready to go at 5. I don’t know about you, but in my house, 5 AM is the middle of the night. So what can we do to help our kids adjust to this change (and keep our sanity!)?

In an ideal world, we could to begin to shift our children’s schedules a week ahead of time. Every few days we’d move their sleep and mealtimes by 15 minutes, so by the time daylight savings hits, they’ve already adjusted. Despite this being the “official recommendation” for a smooth daylight savings transition, I’ve yet to meet one person to actually do it (myself included with my own kids!). The world outside our homes doesn’t accommodate such a gentle shift; school starts when school starts and you need to get to work on time, not 15-45 minutes late.

Never fear! Here are some tips to help your children adjust to the new time:

  • Expose your children to lots of sunlight during the day if the weather permits. Our circadian rhythms align with the sun, so exposure to natural light helps our bodies adjust to the appropriate time.
  • Now that it’s lighter later, children often protest going to bed when the sun is up. About 30 min prior to bedtime, dim the lights to help the body transition to nighttime. Room darkening shades can really help with this, too. Keep the environment calm, and quiet before bed to get children relaxed and ready to sleep.
  • Stick with your bedtime routine. If you don’t have a bedtime routine already, now is a great time to start. Children thrive on routines, so having one can be incredibly helpful to give structure to the time before bed. A quiet routine is calming to them and helps them relax and ease into bedtime. It can be as simple as pajamas on, brush teeth, read a book/sing a song, lights out. Don’t make it overly complex. You want this to be replicable daily, and easily done by a babysitter in your absence.
  • Minimize exposure to electronics at least an hour prior to bedtime. This is true all year round, but especially now when we’re trying to help kids adjust to daylight savings time. Electronic screens emit a blue light that mimics a bright, sunny sky and tricks the body into thinking it is daytime. The result of this is that melatonin, the hormone that helps induce sleep, is suppressed, making it more challenging to fall asleep.
  • If your twins share a room, your in luck! If they’re up early, let them play together until a more “reasonable” waking hour. It’s ok to not run to your children the minute they stir. Allow them a few minutes to wake and play quietly by themselves, or with their brother or sister.

If all else fails, find a big mug and fill it with coffee. I’m sure you’ll be in good company with plenty of other Moms and Dads!

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