Helping your family “Fall Back!” – Daylight Savings Time ends November 2, 2AM
An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later.
– Winston Churchill
Before we had kids, I used to love the end of daylight savings time – a wonderfully lazy Sunday morning gift. In that gloriously anticipated hour, I’d sleep late, or indulge in coffee and reading the Sunday paper front to back (yes, back in the day of the paper actually showing up on your doorstep).
As a parent, next Sunday reminds us that there are no more free hours. Instead, we walk out of work in the dark and wake the kids up when their little bodies are telling them it’s still too early.
Your overtired, off-schedule little ones can be a challenge, but take heart: it usually takes less than two weeks for circadian rhythms to adjust. As the family looks forward to a snuggly autumn and winter, here are some tips for “falling back” more gracefully:
1. Be consistent. Keep meals and activities schedules in place. Keeping your routine with little standard time tweaks will help ease the transition.
2. Get outside. Sunshine is the reset button. When you can get your kids into the sunshine first thing in the morning, their bodies will adjust more easily. No sunshine? No worries. Just seeing the light of day, and the fresh air, makes the moment the perfect wake-up call. Check out this list of 50 ways to get outdoors in your own backyard for some ideas!
3. Adjust your schedules. Start bedtime 15 minutes earlier a week as you head into the November 1 weekend.
4. Nap. Nap. Nap. If you have young children, watch for signs of fatigue and put them down before they miss their sleep window. Crankiness doesn’t help the transition.
5. Give your early risers what they need. For children over four years old, early rising will be an issue. Give them a stack of new library books and an alarm clock. Agree that they must stay in bed until their “wake-up time,” and allow them to peruse their new books if they’re up early or download some FREE coloring pages here. Blackout curtains can help since it will be much lighter in the morning.
6. Connect. On Sunday, take advantage of that gloriously anticipated hour to enjoy your family. Take a fall leaf walk in the park before the winter weather sets in. In the evening, enjoy an early dinner, a cuddle on the couch; and an early evening story or movie.
With your child snuggled next to you, reminisce about the good old days where you took that extra hour to sleep in your bed. Free of diaper wipes, stuffed animals, blankies, and shin guards, you could read the whole paper. Today, you’ve got the whole world in your arms.
Chipper Tip: Remember to check your smoke alarm and flashlight batteries when you set your clock back and add a few more canned items or flats of water to your grocery list – you are winter ready!