Halloween has come and gone. Now before Thanksgiving, parents are watching the calendar for another date: daylight saving time is ending. It’s a day we dread, but it’s one we can’t ignore and it’s happening soon. But don’t fret. Here’s what you need to do to minimize the stress of the day.
On Sunday, November 7, at 2 a.m. local time, Daylight Saving time ends. The time bumps back an hour this time, otherwise known as “falling back,” so while you do gain one more hour of sleep, many parents know that’s really only what happens in theory, and the sudden change in schedule can throw kids all out of wack. Ask any parent and they say that whether the saving time ends or starts, our kids feel it and so does our schedule.
ABC News reports that 7 in 10 Americans experience adverse health issues when we have to switch between the start and end of Daylight Saving Time. While the time switch is crappy, and the winter nights get longer, there are two ways you can start tackling the end of Daylight Saving to help prep you, and in particular your children, so it doesn’t hit everyone’s energy and mood so hard. Here are the two best strategies.
Start adjusting the kids’ routine a week before Daylight Saving Time ends.
You’re already a little late to start prepping your kids for Sunday, November 7th, but you can still act now. We know that on paper the time change is only an hour, but that hour can be big for little kids. If you want to help avoid an abrupt change that shifts the whole day, start adjusting small amounts all week.
Start putting your children to bed — and waking them up — at slightly earlier times, say, 15-minute intervals, over the next few days, so that when the clock falls back a whole hour, they aren’t shocked the next morning or night.
“If you want, you can even start making this change earlier, and just shift times earlier by 5 or 10 minutes,” Connecticut Children’s Hospital suggests. Since you’re a little late, you might want to shift it back by 15 or 20 minutes, but get going now.
Tackle the end of Daylight Saving on Saturday — not Sunday.
If you don’t want to take a week to shift the schedule of you and your children, you can actually just crank those clocks back on Saturday night. You could get the whole house involved and shift back your oven clocks, wall clocks, analogue watches, and more, and hide phones from your kids so that they’re not confused or the wiser.
Connecticut Children’s Hospital suggests that rather than gradually waking up your kids earlier, you could start the shift on Saturday night by shifting the clock back an hour instead of waiting for Sunday night — right before kids need to get up early on Monday morning. Giving them a whole day to adjust on Sunday is a nice, easier, and less stressful way to have kids be groggy and lazy.
“Get your child up at the time they’ll need to rise on Monday morning,” they explain. “Right away, get them out and about in sunlight for 30 to 60 minutes. Have breakfast at the new time, too.” Then in the afternoon and evening hours, continue to shift their routine to the “new times” of the end of Daylight Saving. By the next day, they’ll be a little bit more ready to handle it, but still not fully there. “It should take your child about a week to adjust,” they warn. “In the meantime, be patient if they’re a little moody.”
Good luck! And remember, we will spring forward again in March, so never forget that another stressor is just around the corner.