Each spring as the clocks are moved ahead, parents are faced with children who will want to wake later in the morning and want to go to sleep later at night. Here are Jill Spivack's tips for parents on how to get your children's schedules back on track when the clocks are moved one hour later.
Jill Spivack, MSW: Tonight, at 2:00 AM, we can all celebrate moving our clocks ahead for Daylight Savings Time. For many, it's a glorious time of the year when we get to "sleep late" on Sunday morning, because our kids will be waking up "one hour later"... in our heads, anyway! Here are some tips, excerpted from my book The Sleepeasy Solution, to help make this transition smooth and enjoyable.
Before you go to bed, turn your clocks ahead one hour. If your child normally sleeps til 6:30 AM, the next morning she will likely sleep until 7:30 AM (which still feels like 6:30 to her). If you are happy about this change, great! Just protect her room from too much light entering in the early morning, and use white noise so she won't wake with the birds. If you'd rather help your child get back to her usual schedule, however, try the following:
1. Put your child down at her regular bedtime, say 7:30 PM, on Saturday night.
2. Set your alarm for 6:30 AM (according to the new clock) and wake your child at this time. It will feel to her body like it's actually 5:30 AM, but don't worry. She'll be a bit tired today but she will adjust.
3. If your child naps, put her down at her normal nap time according to the new clock and resume your normal schedule from there. Don't allow your child to nap longer than she usually does.
4. On Sunday night, put her down at her usual bedtime according to the new time.
For parents of teens, this time change can make getting the kids to school pretty challenging! Make sure to wake them up early on Sunday so they can begin to adjust a bit before school the following week. If you need to, bang on some pots and pans or play some blaring loud rock music and all will be well!
It will take a few days for all of us to adjust to the time change, but once we do, we'll be able to thoroughly enjoy taking evening strolls ... and before we know it, summer will be here!
|Jill Spivack, author of "The Sleepeasy Solution" and co-founder of Sleepy Planet Inc., is a psychotherapist and mother of two.|