Daylight savings = meltdowns
Daylight savings is coming up and we all know that any change in a schedule can really throw kids off! You finally get into the swing of fall and then bam, everything’s an hour off. You might even be wondering to yourself how one hour can throw things so far off?!?! I saw it for the week following daylight savings when I was a teacher. The kids all were groggy, tired, irritable, and quicker to judge, melt down, and have hurt feelings. Lucky for us, we can do a few things to make it a smoother transition!
Common strategy vs. my strategy
I once heard the idea to do the time change the day before, but based on my cute kindergarteners, kids (and adults too, who are we kidding) take more than a day to adjust. Here’s my strategy: make the transition over the course of the week prior. A few days to a week before daylight savings, start the bedtime routine 5-10 minutes earlier than you normally would. Then, increase by 5 to 10 minutes each night and by the time you get to the night of the time change you’re already on track!
Why telling your kid “you’ll feel so much better if we do it this way” doesn’t work for this
As adults we can process that going to bed a few minutes earlier for a week will make a day in the future easier. Young kids aren’t able to think like that yet. Their brains don’t yet comprehend this. Similar to how for toddlers “sharing” is nearly impossible — their brains don’t yet understand how this works because they are the center of their own universe. 5- to 6-year-olds live fully in the present because that’s where their minds comprehend. This is why trying to use logic such as “because on that Monday in a week you’ll wake up feeling better this way” doesn’t work.
Here’s what the schedule looks like:
If you have 5 days:
Night 1: 10 minutes earlier than usual bedtime
Night 2: 10 minutes earlier than usual bedtime
Night 3: 10 minutes earlier than usual bedtime
Night 4:15 mins.
Night 5: 15 mins.
If you don’t have a full 5 days, no sweat. Simply start bedtime earlier each night. Here are a few other breakdowns:
If you have 2 days:
Night 1: 15-20 minutes earlier than usual bedtime
Night 2: 30-40 minutes earlier than usual bedtime
Tips for success:
Make bedtime as appealing as possible for your child. What are their FAVORITE things to do at bedtime? Do they have a favorite book series? A favorite set of pajamas? Make these available at bedtime for this week. Even if they’re still awake, getting into the bedtime routine earlier will help.
Don’t make it a big deal. Everyone will survive if your child doesn’t go to bed earlier. This is a bonus, not a necessity. Remember — this is supposed to make life easier, not harder.
Use what you know about your kid. Some kids do well with advanced warning and other kids will dig their heels in harder than ever if they know in advance. Use what you know about your kid and decide whether it’s good to loop them in that there’s going to be an adjustment to their bedtime. If you opt not to loop them in (likely the best fit for most kids) and they say something like “it doesn’t feel like bedtime” you can agree with them/validate that feeling and simply tell them it’s bedtime.
Alright mommas, you’ve got this! Tag me on Instagram to let me know how it goes. I’m here for you!
Before you go — click here and check out my Kids On Clean Up course to see if it’s a good fit for you. I teach you how to get your kids doing the cleaning up after play time, with minor spills and beyond. It’s a real game changer!!
As always, send me an email with questions or requests.