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Time Change Survival Strategies for Parents

Though you will get about a hundred reminders that the clocks go ahead an hour this year on Sunday, March 8, we thought we’d make it 101. But instead of just telling you about the time change, we also have some helpful hints to guide you and your young children cope with the sleep disruption that often comes along with the time change.

Time Changes Affect the Whole Family

Time changes are hard on all of us, but it seems the “spring forward” coming up next weekend is the most difficult. Many of us wander around with a serious case of the stupids until we adapt to the change. In fact, there is 5-7% increase in fatal car accidents in the three days after we lose an hour of sleep. So, if adults have such a hard time losing that sweet, sweet hour of sleep, should it really be a surprise that babies and young children struggle with it too?

Thankfully, there are things you can start doing RIGHT NOW to help you, and your baby, get through the time change (relatively) unscathed:

  • Give it a week: It takes us about a week to get used to the change in time, so when it comes to what kids can handle next week, the key to happiness is lowered expectations. This is not the right time to attempt a hotel stay or fine French restaurant. Keep things as consistent as possible until they’re through the change, and cut them a little slack if they’re not their happy little selves.
  • Plan ahead: You still have a few days before the change. You can start pushing naps and bedtime out by 30 minutes, three days before the change (i.e., noon nap happens at 12:30, 7:00 bedtime moves to 7:30) so that when the time does change, you can move to the old schedule pretty easily.
  • Look for the bright side: If you’re the parents of a gawdawful early riser, don’t do a thing! This time change is a gift because their new wake up time is at a much more reasonable hour. They may go back to their old, painfully early wake up time when they adapt to the change, so enjoy it for as long as it lasts!

The time change is a bit of a beast for all of us, but it does give you the opportunity to see the sun for a little while longer when you’re done work for the day. Take the good with the bad and remember to cut yourself a little slack too!