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Fall Time Change Tips for Parents

POSTED BY: Florida Hospital

It may just be a simple change of the clock, but the end of daylight saving time isn’t that easy on our bodies – especially for kids and babies.

“Falling back,” as we call it, can wreak serious havoc on children’s sleep schedules, and one thing is certain: disrupted sleep is a sure recipe for an unhappy kid.

The end of daylight saving time means most children will wake up earlier than usual in the morning, which disrupts their regular nap and bedtime schedules – snowballing into a cycle of confusion and crankiness that’s as hard on parents as it is kids.

Here are a few things you can do now to make the upcoming time change a little easier for your little ones:

Tip #1: Start the Shift NOW

Leading up to Saturday night, begin shifting bedtimes later in 15-minute increments. If your kids normally head to bed at 9:00 p.m., bump it up to 9:15 tonight, 9:30 on Friday and 9:45 on Saturday night. Even these tiny changes will help prepare your child’s body for the time shift.

Tip #2: Don’t Forget About Naps

Along with later bedtimes (and hopefully, later wake-ups), shift your kids’ normal nap schedules up, too. All together, these adjustments will help reset their internal clocks more gradually.

Tip #3: Lessen the Light

Kids are drawn to morning light like moths to a flame, and no parent wants to get a 5:00 a.m. wake-up call on Sunday morning. Making their bedrooms as dark as possible with blackout curtains and room-darkening blinds may help keep them – and you – asleep longer.

Tip #4: Create a Soothing Bedtime Environment

Tips like turning off the TV and putting away electronics before bed are always recommended by experts, but they’re even more critical at this time of year. Without the stimulating light from these screens to keep their neurons firing, they’ll be better prepared for a good night’s sleep.

Tip #5: Get Older Kids Engaged in the Time Change

The concept of daylight saving time isn’t exactly easy for any of us, but by a certain age, kids can start to understand what’s happening. Invite them into the process by explaining the time change and letting them help with setting the clocks back.

Tip #6: Just Be Patient

We know, easier said than done. But try to remember that the time change isn’t easy on anyone – that goes for us, our kids, our spouses and our coworkers. It may not be fun, but at least we’re all in it together. That’s something, right?