Keep your cool with our sanity-saving tips for families
Remember when changing the clocks back left things to be enjoyed? That was way back BK (before kids), in the days when “getting up early” on a weekend meant 10 a.m. But now here’s the story: Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 2 a.m., and if you have early risers in your house, that means your day will start literally at the crack of dawn — or maybe even earlier.
On Nov. 4, we will go to bed and wake up on Nov. 5 with one extra hour in our day and while this sounds like a good idea, our kids will show us that any time Daylight Saving Time comes around, their delicate sleep cycles will get disrupted.
But never fear! We’re here to save the day. We tracked down some of the most useful tips and tricks for coping with that early hour on Sunday morning.
- Tire them out. If your kids always have energy to burn, bundle them up during the afternoon before the switch and turn them loose at the park or the backyard to run like crazy. Or better yet, put them to work helping you rake and bag all those leaves.
- Adjust bedtime accordingly. The best way to help kids adjust to the time change is to incrementally move their bedtime later over several days. Tonight, move their bedtime back by 10 minutes and do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day. This gradual change will hopefully make the weekend’s change a bit less abrupt. (Then there are those of you who will insist that a child who is put to bed earlier will counterintuitively sleep later. Yeah, we had one of those kids. Sometimes logic goes out the window.)
- Mood lighting. Sleep experts say that dimming the lights by 50 to 75 percent (and yes, that includes screens) up to an hour before bedtime will increase your kid’s natural production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. But earlier in the evening, make sure your child still has some light exposure to fortify them for that slightly later bedtime. As for the mornings, try to keep bright light out of the bedroom. (Two lifesaving words: Blackout shades!)
- Turn up the noise. Got a white noise machine? Turn it on around about the same time you dim those lights.
- When all else fails, as one mom recommends, “buy coffee in bulk.”
And hey, don’t forget to take this opportunity to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors!
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