By Guest Blogger Ginny Olson, author of the blog

First off, I’m having a super hard time dropping the “S” from this twice-annual event. It’s been “daylight savings time” my whole life. Kinda like how “February” doesn’t actually have an “R,” whereas, “Washington” does. Not kidding on that one – just ask my rural Virginia kinfolk. Also, how confusing is the English language to young kiddos learning to spell things like “knife,” that’s got a “K” that plays hide ‘n seek with you?

But I’ll (maybe) tow the line for all you grammar geeks out there. So we can all learn how to rock daylight SAVING time.

Here’s the skinny: PLAN AHEAD.

Children like bedtime routines. And mommas like it when children go to bed.

Enter: daylight saving time – the fall edition. It’s that random night where bedtime is completely blown to Hell. And the kiddos turn into zombies because what is now 7:30pm was 8:30pm yesterday. At least it’s suddenly dark as all get out. You do have that in your favor, which is more than we can say for daylight saving time – the spring edition.

The issue is that the kiddos wake up when the kiddos wake up. If they usually get up at 5:45am, this is now technically 4:45am (Lord, help us.) You can tell them to go back to sleep, but does that ever work? (You can read my tips on dealing with an early riser in this post.)

If little Betsy has been awake since 4:45am, the new 7:30pm is pretty frikkin’ late in her world. I’m guessing once you all got home from school or daycare or work or soccer practice or flute lessons and ate something and tried to fit in a bath, book, bedtime snuggles, somewhere along the way, dear Betsy lost her s**t.

Let me help you out.

Shifting bedtime

Push bedtime back just slightly, like, in increments of 15 minutes, starting the Monday before daylight saving time – the fall edition – arrives.

This schedule works in our house:
Monday – bedtime is 7:30pm –> push it back to 7:45pm
Tuesday – bedtime is now 7:45pm
Wednesday – push bedtime back to 8pm
Thursday – bedtime is now 8pm
Friday – push bedtime back to 8:15pm
Saturday – bedtime is now 8:15pm
Sunday – bedtime is now technically 7:15pm and you can push it back to 7:30pm if you want

To succeed, you might need to move meals and naps back a bit, too, each day.

By Sunday, you’ve ROCKED daylight saving time – the fall edition. Because orange is the new black, I mean, 7:30 is the new 8:30. (Right? I basically suck at trying to figure out which way the clock goes whenever daylight saving comes around. I have an MBA, but this clock math blows my mind.)

The cool thing about daylight saving – the fall edition – is that you have darkness on your side. Plus, THE WEEKEND!

If little Betsy is crazy on Saturday or Sunday because you keep messing with her bedtime, you can force a midday nap– the splendid car-nap (sometimes) works at our house.

And Betsy can sleep in later in the morning on Saturday and Sunday to make up for this bedtime disruption. HA! I bet she won’t!! But we can at least tell ourselves that’s a possibility.

The goal in all this is that by Monday, after daylight saving arrives, when everyone goes back to life with school and daycare and work, Betsy’s body will have adjusted a bit better than the kids at school whose parents just said, “Oops! Sunday night you go to bed an hour later – good luck with having a great day tomorrow on an hour less of sleep!”

The impact of less sleep

You think losing an hour of sleep is no big deal?

Arianna Huffington in her fabulous book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming your life, one night at a time, points out that, according to the team of sleep researchers at Meridian Health, “losing an hour of sleep per week – which many of us do without a moment’s thought – can lead to a higher risk of heart attack.”

Maybe you’re not worried about heart attacks, but let’s be honest. We’ve all seen our kids act like they’re jacked up on crack because of sleep deprivation. When your kid needs 10 hours of sleep, your kid needs 10 hours of sleep, amiright? So help him out with the slow slide into daylight savings.

Otherwise, trying to figure out if daylight saving has an “S” or not will be the least of your worries. Hello, crazy, bleary-eyed zombie child!

REMEMBER: all it takes is 15 minutes a night starting a few days prior to do your kiddo good.

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