Just a warning: it is happening soon … that is right, it is time for TIME CHANGE! The leap is happening on Sunday, March 10, 2024. Let’s face it, while the extra daylight is dreamy (especially in the PNW) the lack of sleep and that transition can be so hard. Twice a year, the time change for daylight savings time can disrupt our sleep patterns and daily routines, leaving both children and adults feeling groggy and disoriented. 

For parents, this adjustment can be particularly challenging, as children often struggle with changes to their sleep schedules. Their bodies don’t know we are changing the time! However, with some planning and patience, you can help your children navigate the transition smoothly (or at least we can pretend like we can make a difference). 

Start preparing your children for the time change a few days before it occurs. Gradually shift their bedtime and wake-up time by 10-15 minutes each day leading up to the time change. This approach allows their bodies to adapt slowly and minimizes the sudden disruption to their sleep routine.

Consistency is key when it comes to children’s sleep patterns. Stick to a regular bedtime routine, including activities such as reading a book or taking a warm bath before bed. This consistency will signal to their bodies that it’s time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

Exposure to natural light can help regulate the body’s internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm. During the day, encourage your children to spend time outdoors, especially in the morning. Natural sunlight will help reset their internal clocks and make it easier for them to adjust to the time change.

The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with the natural production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. To promote better sleep, establish a screen-free period before bedtime. Encourage activities such as reading a book, playing a quiet game, or engaging in relaxation techniques instead.

In addition to sleep patterns, adjust your child’s daily schedule, including meal times and activities, to align with the new time. By gradually shifting their entire routine, you can help synchronize their internal clock with the external time cues.

Ensure your child’s bedroom is conducive to quality sleep. Keep the room dark, cool, and quiet. Consider using blackout curtains, a white noise machine, or a fan to create a soothing environment that promotes restful sleep.

Remember that adjusting to the time change may take a few days or even a week. During this period, be patient with your children and understand that they may be more tired or irritable than usual. Offer extra comfort and reassurance as they adapt to the new schedule. And give yourself some grace as well. 

Children often learn by observing their parents’ behavior. Set a good example by prioritizing your own sleep and maintaining a consistent sleep routine. When children see their parents valuing sleep, they are more likely to understand its importance and follow suit.

While the time change for daylight saving time can pose challenges for parents and children alike, trying to take a proactive and gradual approach can help ease the transition. Remember, consistency and patience are key, and soon enough, everyone in the family will be fully adjusted to the time change. But if you are like most of us and realize the time change the day of, just roll with it and enjoy the sunshine.