Figuring Out How to “Spring Forward”

It’s that time of year again when parents and caregivers have to move their clocks ahead one hour as part of Daylight Saving Time. This is a headache for many people caring for little ones, but the challenges of drastically changing schedules can be worked out in a short period of time.

While you may have done something similar in the Fall when the clocks turned back, the big difference in the Spring is that it stays lighter later into the evening. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your child’s schedule isn’t disrupted too much.

Sleeping is probably the biggest worry when it comes to caregivers, at night or for naptime. They key is to move their time ahead bit by bit. If your child goes to sleep at 8:00 pm, ease them into the change. Adjust their bedtime in 15 or 20-minute increments over the course of a few days.

Also, focus only on sleep time, not wake-up time. The time when your child wakes up will usually adjust more naturally as everyone else gets going in the morning. The key here is to make sure everything stays the same in the evening so kids can get used to the new time. ( )

Second, make sure your kids get plenty of exercise. Wear them out. This will not only help them get used to the time change, but also get them some much-needed outdoor time. Fresh air and exercise will make kids more tired, and ready to go to sleep when you want them to.

Also, with more daylight, you can adjust shades on your child’s windows at night and use the natural light in the morning to help wake them up. ( )

Finally, be sympathetic to your child. We mentioned this in a previous blog post, but its important to recognize this can be stressful. Some kids may not even notice the time and light changes, while others may lash out. Whatever happens, make sure you are staying calm and trying to find solutions to help your child sleep better and feel better during the change. ( )