Hey kids, that extra hour was supposed to be for sleep…

Yay, an extra hour of sleep!! Well, that is unless you have kids (or pets) that are on a schedule and can’t tell time. Most of us are thrilled to have an extra hour of sleep when Daylight Saving comes to an end and we “Fall Back.” I learned early along my parenting journey that the time change can wreak havoc on a child with a good schedule. Good parenting involves schedules, so most kids will have some adjustment to make. Most kids have an internal clock, and it’s not necessarily the same as the time on your wall. Making the change can be difficult for many kids and their family.

One way to help minimize the difficulties is to change your child’s schedule in small increments, not an hour all in one day. Change your child’s schedule by 15 minutes at a time. 

Take bedtime for example: If your child typically goes to bed at 8pm, they are going to start melting down around 7. Change their bedtime to 7:15 for a few nights. Then, make bedtime 7:30, a few nights later 7:45, then finally back to 8 a few nights later.

Personally, I am going to enjoy the time change most when I get up for work tomorrow and it isn’t dark outside. There may be challenges during the day and especially in the evening, but the sun coming up an hour earlier will make getting my kids up a little easier. On the flip side, it will make outside playtime after school shorter, meaning less time for the kids to ‘get their wiggles out.’

Every stage of raising kids has it’s challenges. So, I have a small anecdote for those of you with kids that were up too early for you to enjoy your extra hour. Watch out when they do learn to tell time… When Joshua first learned to tell time, I tried to get him to bed a little earlier. He told me that the clock didn’t say 8:00, so it wasn’t his bedtime yet! That took a little extra time and some coersion…. So, enjoy the days when they don’t tell time, the next stage is equally challenging.

I hope all of you get to put that extra hour to good use and find time to spend it Enjoying the Journey!

“Spring Forward” without meltdowns…. Help your child adjust to the Time Change

If you have a baby or small child, it maybe painfully obvious that they don’t tell time! 

So, How can you help your little one adjust to the time change? 

Children have a difficult time changing schedules, especially by an entire hour. When babies in the hospital need schedule changes, the change is made in small time increments.

Try to change your child’s schedule by 15 minutes at a time each day.

For example, if dinner is usually at 6:00, keep in mind 6:00 is now 7:00. Waiting an extra hour for food is way too long for a little one. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how quickly a hungry or tired child can have a meltdown. 😉 You could have dinner at 5:15 the first day, 5:30 the second day, 5:45 the third day, and by the fourth day, dinner is at 6:00 again. If you have the opportunity, spend a few days at each new time before moving on. Keep in mind, bedtime is now an hour later, which means they may wake an hour earlier than you plan if you don’t help them adjust. It may be that your child is off schedule enough that it is more difficult to wake them in the morning, small changes can help. If you have little ones that don’t go to school, this is much easier. If you have a little one that has to get up and go to school or daycare, you may have more of a challenge. If you need to be back on schedule by Monday (only 2 days away), you can force the change a little quicker by changing things by 30 minutes vs 15 minutes. It will not be as smooth of an adjustment, but it should be helpful.

Filling the time before meals with small healthy snacks such as fruit or veggies to help hold them over until the new dinnertime can be helpful too.

I learned early along my parenting journey that the time change can wreak havoc on a child with a good schedule. Good parenting involves schedules, so most kids will have some adjustment to make.  I hope this info makes “Springing forward” easier for your family! Good luck and I hope you are Enjoying the Journey! 🙂