Guest post by: Nancy Rothstein, MBA, The Sleep Ambassador and Sleep Expert from TONE Networks
Use these simple steps to keep yourself and the kids happy and enjoy a drama free bedtime!
It’s that dreaded time of year again when the clocks are changing! Many a mother (and father) has posted on social media the “disaster” of the time change. Kids are tired, cranky, crying, and overly sensitive because their little “clocks” are all messed up. Meanwhile mom is tired, cranky and let’s keep it real here, probably eating chocolate and guzzling wine just to try and wait out the days until the kiddos adjust to the new time.
There has to be a better way! Dr. Christine Li, the Procrastination Coach at TONE Networks says, “The time change can be very difficult for families. I recommend parents put a reminder in their calendar two weeks before the time change so they have some space to think of and to implement slight shifts in their regular schedule. For instance, parents may want to plan for an extra half-hour to help their children get ready for school in the morning. Parents may also remind themselves that they and their children might feel more irritable or out-of-sorts during the time change and the few days after. Also, I recommend that parents steer clear of packing the family schedule too tightly during the time change period. Preparing yourself and your calendar really can help smooth the time change for families.”
Dr. Nancy Rothstein, The Sleep Ambassador and Sleep Coach at TONE Networks agrees planning is the key to managing Day Light Saving, particularly for families with kids, as they don’t have the coping skills we have as adults to manage their sleep loss. She has provided some great tips on how to beat the clock and keep your sanity. She suggest a week before Day Light Saving ends to call a quick family meeting to talk about a new sleep plan when the clock “falls” back the next Sunday night.
Here are some of Nancy’s tips for your family meeting:
- Talk with your kids about why it’s important to keep your body on a regular sleep schedule, i.e. it helps them grow, learn, they make better food choices when they’re not tired, and they won’t be grumpy because they’re tired.
- This is a great way to educate your kids about why DLS was actually created in order to save energy and provide more daylight to work.
- Explain that starting Monday bedtime will be moved up 10 minutes each day so that the next week they won’t be tired or worse tired and grumpy!
If you missed pre-planning the bedtime change, don’t worry! When the time change arrives, just be a bit flexible in the days/nights that follow, recognizing that your child’s body clock will be aligned with the pre-time change clock. Instead of putting them to down at the new bedtime, try getting them ready for bed 15 minutes to a half hour earlier for the days or week that follow until their circadian rhythm is in the swing of the new clock time. Remember, at 8 p.m. their body clock thinks it is 9 p.m.! As for the morning, they will likely have less adjustment issues because their body clock thinks it’s an hour later so they’ve had more sleep than the clock indicates.
If your children (or you!) have a hard time getting to sleep try these tips to get “in the mood” for bedtime:
- Remove all technology one hour before bedtime (no phone, iPad, Kindle, TV, anything that has blue light which will stimulate the brain and make sleep difficult)
- Taking a soothing bath or shower before bed, this helps to relax the body and over time the body is trained to understand, “I’m getting ready to sleep.”
- Read a book (not on a device, a real book!) before going to sleep.
- Cover any light that may be in their room, like an alarm clock or phone.
If you want to learn to hear more expert advice from Dr. Christine Li or Nancy Rothstein check out TONE Networks and watch their short form videos on the importance of sleep in tweens and teens, insomnia, why lack of sleep causes weight gain, the power of planning, time management, minimalism and more.