Who's ready for some extra sleep? On Sunday at 2 a.m., daylight saving time ends. This means people living in the United States, with the exception of Arizona and Hawaii residents, will move their clocks back one hour. While you as a parent may welcome the extra hour in bed, your little one may find the adjustment a bit more difficult. Here are five ways to help your child adjust to daylight saving time without ruining their routine.
Start adjustments on Saturday
No parent wants to deal with a child's case of the Mondays. By making changes a day early, you reduce the chance of a tired, cranky child when the school week begins. If you are really committed to a smooth transition, you could start making incremental changes to their bedtime and wakeup time starting now. Simply adjust a bit more each day until you are ready for the clock switch.
Move plans an hour later
Saturday should be spent pre-adjusting to the new "normal" time. This means doing your best to move routine activities, like meals and naps, a bit later. Your best bet? Move starting times ahead an hour. For example, if your kids eat lunch at 12 p.m. and go down for a nap at 1 p.m., have them hold off until 1 p.m. to eat, and get them napping closer to 2 p.m.
Limit physical activities
Normally, it's a blessing to be able to have your kids active all day, but if there's one day a year when it's more like a curse, it's this one. Running your child down during the day – say, with a long walk to the playground and back – will make them tired earlier. They're more likely to crash at their normal bedtime, not later like you'd want. If you are committed to honing in on your children's sleep schedules, let them have a lazy day just this once.
Keep them in bed
Even if they go to sleep later on Saturday, children could – and with your luck, will – still wake up early on Sunday. Rather than running to their room and helping them out of bed, encourage them to lay there until the new time. If your child's normally an early riser, these "sleep to wake" learning clocks can help teach them to stay in bed.
Invest in better room-darkening products
The effects of the time change will persist well after Sunday, in part due to a now-earlier sunrise. Because it will start getting brighter earlier, it may wake your little one up sooner than they'd like. Do your best to lengthen their morning sleep time by installing room-darkening curtains or blackout blinds. Even offering your bigger kid an eye mask to wear to bed can help!