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How to Make Time Change Easier for Your Family

Looking forward to saying good-bye to winter? If so, you’re not alone! When winter seems to drag on forever, we all tend to find ourselves longing for more sunshine and warmth. For many, daylight savings time marks the beginning of spring, a welcome relief for those who have been cooped up in winter. 

There is one hiccup, however, when it comes to the beloved extra sunlight -- springing forward! 

Most people don’t dread the “fall back” change quite so much because it seems we all get more sleep. The “spring forward” change, on the other hand, has but one consolation, and that’s more daylight! 

Children aren’t typically concerned with the time change because they have oh-so-many more things to occupy their thoughts. Parents, however, know they will not only feel the change within their own bodies, but also see and feel the effects of the time change on their children, which [let’s be honest] can be quite challenging. 

The truth is, springing forward and losing an hour is going to come with adjustments and a few rocky days. But there are things you can do to help your children glide through the first daylight savings week practically unscathed! 

9 Tips to help families adjust to daylight savings time:

  1. Keep routines the same.
    It’s hard for adults to choose not to sleep in on the days just after the time change. That makes it doubly hard for parents, in turn, to not let their children sleep in for a few extra minutes.

    With that in mind, resist the temptation to let your children stay up later to catch those longer lingering rays of sun, at least for the first few days.

    In addition, keep other family routines the same as much as possible. Bedtime routines, for example, should stay the same as well as mealtimes. This will help keep the days as “normal” as possible while everyone adjusts.

  2. Go to bed a little earlier.
    A week before the time change, commit to getting the kids to bed 10-15 minutes earlier and (if possible) waking them 10-15 minutes earlier in the mornings.
    Parents, you will benefit from getting a few extra minutes at night, too. While this may be difficult, it really does pay off in the end.

  3. Provide a heartier/healthier breakfast.
    Make sure your kids have a heartier breakfast that first week of daylight savings time. Instead of cereal or pop tarts, try offering something with less carbs and sugar and more protein. Sugar seems like a good idea in order to give children a kickstart, but it will ultimately leave them much more tired (and grumpy) in the late morning hours.

  4. Take an intentional break.
    For a week following the time change, make time in the afternoon for an intentional break. Maybe not a full nap if your children don't do well with naps, but 10-20 minutes of downtime will work wonders in overall mood.

    During this time, your children could read a book, look at a magazine, put together a puzzle, or play with something small in their hands (like a fidget toy or playdoh). This isn’t a time for devices or TV, but a time for them to rest their minds and bodies.
  5. Get moving!
    After the 10-20 minute break, encourage physical, outside playtime. Not enough can be said about the importance of outside play. It encourages creativity, and it gets their muscles moving, which in turn causes them to be tired and ready for a good bedtime routine and sound sleep afterward.
  6. Get more light.
    Our bodies need sunlight! Do all you can to get extra sunlight on the Sunday of the time-change weekend. It’s a natural way to help your body adjust to the new time. So take advantage of the sunlight and enjoy some outside time with your children!
  7. Read before bed.
    Reading to children is one of the best things parents can do for them as they grow. It’s also the perfect way to help your kiddos settle into bedtime and drift off to dreamland, especially when adjusting to the time change.

    For at least the week following the time change, commit to reading a novel, one chapter each night, with your children. You will find an easier bedtime routine is only ONE of the benefits!
  8. Be Patient.
    It’s difficult for adults to adjust to daylight savings time, and even more difficult for children. As parents, sometimes the best we can offer is patience.

    When mornings are a struggle and evenings are turned upside down (despite your best efforts) remember it won’t last long, and you’re doing all the right things to make it easier on everyone.
  9. Be consistent.
    Consistency is key to parenting, and that’s truer than ever when it comes to the time change! Whatever you choose to do, stick with it.

    You may feel tired and ready to give up. You’ll wish you could enjoy the extra sunshine too. But commit to sticking to your plan for the days leading up to and after the “spring forward” time change to help your children adjust the best they can.

Take a moment to think through these ways to help your children best handle the time change and choose which tips you’d like to try. Make sure to discuss the plan with your spouse too, so you are both on the same page and ready to help your children make the adjustment. It will make the transition so much easier on your family, and you’ll be all set to enjoy some extra sunshine, without the extra hassle, this spring!

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