Daylight saving time and kids: Tips to ease the lost hour

For kids, losing an hour of sleep during the daylight saving time switch can disrupt attention span, appetite and overall mood.

We all know the drill — twice a year we change our clocks to account for daylight saving time. Daylight time starts this Sunday, March 8, when we will “spring forward” by one hour. (Remember to set your clocks forward on Saturday night.)

Whether you like the idea of longer days with more sunlight or dread having to update your microwave clock again, one thing is sure — when we spring forward, we lose sleep.

For most adults, losing an hour of sleep is not hugely disruptive. For kids, however, that lost hour can disrupt attention span, appetite and overall mood.

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Tips to prevent falling back on sleep when you spring forward:

  • Talk to your kids about the time change. Sometimes we forget to clue our little ones in on what’s happening. Explain the reason we change the clocks is to save energy so that we don’t have to turn the lights on in the early evenings for part of the year.
  • Plan ahead. Gradually move your child’s bedtime by 15 minutes starting four days ahead of the time change. This means start now!
  • Stick to a routine. Kids thrive on routines. If you haven’t already, start a bedtime routine that will help kids fall asleep easier. Taking a warm bath, reading before bed and practicing a bedtime ritual like prayer, gratitude or a breathing exercise helps kids wind down.
  • Create a better sleep environment. It can be challenging to convince kids that it’s bedtime when it’s still light outside. Make sure their windows are shaded, their favorite toy is nearby and clutter is put away.
  • When all else fails, use the magic sleep spray. Not sold in stores (yet!), the magic sleep spray is a concoction of lavender essential oil and water mixed in a spray bottle. Spray the room, your child’s pillow and his or her pajamas to help bring about relaxation.

Remember: School-age kids need nine to 11 hours of sleep per night. Be a role model and stick to a routine that will help the whole family get their zzz’s and wake up refreshed and ready for the new, longer day!