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Parenting: Yawns and Gripes of Daylight Saving Time Changes

How does your family handle the time change?

My family just makes me laugh. 

“Wooo Hooo!” I hear. “We get an extra hour to sleep!" The next exclamation is , “I have an extra hour to do my homework!”…then loudly “I get an extra hour to finish cleaning the garage” So far, we have three extra hours in our day! 

The reality was, on Sunday morning, we woke at 5:45 a.m. griping that we needed to use our extra hour for sleeping!  So how do children handle this and what can we do to help the ease of change? 

For the young ones:

  • It is a bit late for this but beginning earlier than the change occurs is a great thing. Begin with 10 – 15 minute incremental changes in sleep times. This helps the adjustments tremendously. If you are like my family, we completely forgot the time change was occurring until that evening.  Oooops.
  • Some other ideas may be to keep sleep times calm and consistent. Shut down media sources and be calm. Sing lullabies, have “white” noise, give back massages, read calming books.
  • Bananas, turkey, peanuts and yogurt are also loaded with sleep-triggering tryptophan. Serve up a small tryptophan-rich snack about 30 minutes before bed and your kid will be sleepy and full at bedtime.

For the older ones:

  • Get that media away: No phones, no televisions or computers in the rooms. 
  • Have them shut down video games at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime.
  • Check out the lighting. Maybe use the darkening shades. 
  • Some teens come home after school or after work and nap. Try not to allow a nap longer than 30 minutes or your teen may be up very late during the night.

Get rid of caffeine or any products that will increase the heart rate.

Now…the results:

  • First, expect yawns and gripes after they awaken, especially after the first week. 
  • Second, keep the bedtimes consistent.  You may have to alter a half an hour here and there but don’t succumb to the whining that they have more hours in the day!
  • Third, get YOUR needed rest so you have the energy to deal with your children!

Finally, use the “extra” hour to enjoy your family. Snuggle, light a candle, play some cards, talk about the day or their hobbies, or read together. 

Winter means shorter days…and it is on its way. Aaaaugh…does that mean the garage doesn’t get cleaned?

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