This weekend daylight saving ends and we turn back the clock one hour. We do it every year and every year it’s hard to get used to. It’s hard for our kids to get adjust to the one hour difference, too, but there are ways to make it easy on them. Here are 3 tips to get your kids used to the time change.
Light Melatonin is a hormone created in the body that regulates our circadian rhythm (out internal clock) and tells us when to go to bed and when to get up. Light blocks the production of melatonin. You can play with this idea to help your children adjust to the time change. In the fall, we set our clocks back which means our work and school schedules will start an hour later than our bodies are accustomed to and the clock tells us it’s time to go to bed long after our bodies start shutting down for the night. To help keep your kids on the right schedule, keep the lights on and bright to keep them awake a little longer. If you’re thinking ahead and giving them time to adjust, keep the lights on fifteen minutes later for a few nights prior to the time change. The adjustment won’t feel so fierce once the school week starts.
Rules Even during that first week of the time change, stick to your regular bedtime rules for older children. Your children may want to go to bed an hour later because it seems like they’re getting up an hour later, but staying true to the schedule will help their minds and bodies ease into the new time.
Routine For younger kids, having a regular night time and sleep routines help them sleep better and sticking to the routine will help get them adjusted to the time change. According to a study from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Saint Joseph’s University, establishing a bedtime routine reduces sleep problems for children as well as improves the mood of their mothers. We know we need sleep, but setting up a regular sleep pattern has a greater impact than just getting us used to the fall time change, it prepares us to be productive later in life — having irregular bedtimes at an early age can stunt cognitive development. Researchers with the UK Millennium Cohort Study found children with varying bedtimes scored lower on intellectual tests than children with steady bedtimes. Whether you’re preparing your children for the time change or to do well in school, regular bedtimes will put you on a positive path for sleeping and its benefits.
The body should be adjusted to the one-hour time change within a day — but that varies from person to person. For kids who are sensitive to time, these tips will gently help your kids adapt to the new schedule and readjust when the time changes again in March.