Mark your calendars for Sunday, March 11 — Daylight Saving Time (DST) is almost upon us! Ready to “spring” forward? This Sunday, you’ll need to advance your clocks with one hour. Later in the autumn, you’ll have to re-adjust the time back to the standard time, and “fall” back. It’s not that complicated, but when it comes to your kids, DST comes with its own set of issues. A new way to experience time can be a difficult adjustment for them.
Here at Shift, we have a lot of customers with kids, and some of us even have kids of our own. So we’ve collected some handy tips that will ease the transition for your children, and make the time change as natural for them as possible. Read on—and if you have some tips of your own, share them with us in the comments!
1. Adjust your children’s bedtime.
The best way is to deal with the time change is to adjust their bedtime. Normally, you want your children to go to sleep at a very specific, consistent time to help their development. But you have to consider that your children could wake up cranky if they sleep just one hour less on Sunday, when Daylight Saving Time begins. What you can do right now is to adjust the bedtimes with just a few minutes every night.
You want your child to go to sleep a bit later than before. We recommend you to start this transition on Wednesday, in the week leading up to the Daylight Saving Time change. Go to bed 15 minutes later each night. For example, if you usually go to bed at 10 P.M. alongside your child, go to bed at 10:15 PM on Wednesday, 10:30 on Thursday, and so on. This will help you and your child adjust to the new bedtimes gradually with ease.
2. Expose your child to bright sunlight in the morning.
In the week leading up to the Daylight Saving Time, consider exposing your children to bright sunlight. You can do this through the windows at home, or take your children outside more often.
3. Add some darkening shades in your child’s room.
This makes it easier for your children to not feel the change, and they can focus on sleeping. The entire process of adjusting to DST change feels more natural when you are actively working on adjusting to the time change.
4. Make naps a priority during this transition.
Babies, in particular, need their nap properly during the day. A well-rested baby won’t feel drowsy hours before sleep during the Daylight Saving Time transition. Instead, she or he will go to sleep at the designated hour without feeling much of a difference. This is a system that a lot of parents have been using for many years.
5. Control light levels.
Light levels can be problematic for children and babies. It disrupts their sleep, and it can be a nightmare to put them back to sleep after that. What you can do is to control the light they see in your home a few hours before sleep. Lessen it as much as possible to the point where there’s not that much light, aside from a few ambient bulbs to offer a bit of guidance as you move through the room. In the end, you want to have almost a complete darkness in your home, leading up to their bedtime. As you lower the lights in your home, this will instill a sense of sleepiness and coziness for your children. And you want this to happen! If this doesn’t work, you can just shut down the lights and use candles, then stop each candle gradually.
6. Make sure your children don’t lose any sleep in the days before the Daylight Saving Time change.
Shifting to a new hour is all about making sure that your children are ready to handle the lack of sleep. Normally, you want them to be as rested as possible for this to work properly. After all, proper resting makes them a lot more resistant to external factors, and a major time change is one of them.
7. Pick the right strategy depending on your children’s age.
You know your kids better than anyone. Try adapting them to the sleep schedule that you think works best. Sometimes you may have to bring in a different strategy for each one of your children. Each one of them will have a different way of adapting to Daylight Saving Time, depending on their ages.
Newborns or babies up to 6 months old have a properly-developed circadian rhythm, so they already go to bed when they please. This means you never have to worry about their adjustment to the time change, as they won’t feel any difference.
For kids that are 6 months to 3 years old, it’s important to stick to a bedtime routine. Your children need to go bed when they feel drowsy. If they like having naps during the day, you can schedule those, and modify the hour they take place ahead of time. Note that you have to shift their nap time by adding one additional hour.
For kids aged 4 to 12 years old, you’ll need to involve them much more in the Daylight Saving Time change process, as it’s likely that they use electronics and devices before their bedtime. This can mess up their circadian rhythms, so create a set schedule for when they can use these devices, and put their phones or tablets away one hour before bedtime. After all, light will interfere with the ability to shift to a new wake-up time.
If you have teenagers, you don’t really have to worry about Daylight Saving Time. Once your children are over 12 years old, they will have no problem adjusting to the new time, as this is something they’ve had to endure for multiple years now.
Children who are older will most likely jump into a new routine easily. But kids that are on a set schedule may find it a lot better to adjust. Just remember to talk with your children, explain the situation, and you will have no problem finding the right solution for every kid in your family.
Daylight Saving Time can be stressful for parents. Just be patient with both yourself and your kids. It can take a week or two until things get back to normal. Time changes are tricky, especially during the evenings. But as long as you create a proper strategy that helps you adapt to your children’s bedtimes, you shouldn’t have any issues. Don’t put pressure on your children to sleep at a specific time if they don’t want to though. Let it flow naturally, and try to ease them into the new schedule.
Got any Daylight Saving time change tips of your own? Share them with us in the comments!
Looking to upgrade your ride to a car perfect for your family? Below, we’ve curated a few cars we highly recommend:
“The Toyota Sienna comes in a 7-seater with easy-to-access rear seats. It’s the classic soccer mom car.” —Kyle Morioka, San Francisco
“The Honda Pilot is reliable, comfortable, has seating for 7 people, and has acceptable fuel economy.” — Daniel Van Camp, San Francisco
“I’ve had quite a few customers looking at the BMW X3 because they’re looking to start a family, or already have one and this car happened to be perfect for that.” — Holly Rickel, San Francisco
“The Ford Flex is similarly-sized to a minivan without the look of a minivan, if you care about styling. It’ll accommodate larger families and provide ample storage when needed.” — JD Brobst, San Diego
“The Honda Odyssey is a reliable, spacious vehicle that can accommodate families of any size.” — Griffin Nelson, Los Angeles
“The Mazda5 is part minivan, part compact wagon. It has three rows of seating, a simple, economic powertrain, and those sweet minivan-style sliding rear doors. Loading up the kids and gear couldn’t be easier. Trust me, I just bought one!” — Andy Moore, Los Angeles