"Fall Back" Sleep Tips for Parents

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If you've ever had challenges with Daylight Saving Time (DST) and parenting, you’re not alone. Who knew 60 minutes would make such a difference?

"That hour is even more difficult for kids to deal with than flying cross-country to a whole new time zone," says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia who specializes in pediatric sleep. "It can throw off their sleep, appetite, attention span, mood, everything." Why? A child's body clock is set by light and dark patterns, not by what it reads on your watch, Mindell explains.

By the way, did you know that Benjamin Franklin is the unofficial "father" of Daylight Saving Time? In the late 1700s, he jokingly proposed that Parisians wake up earlier in the summer to save on candle use and instead utilize daylight. Unbeknownst to Franklin, this would later be morphed into DST.

Here’s what parents and caregivers can do:

  • Try to keep your child awake until his or her usual bedtime, realizing that you may see some cranky behavior for a few days.
  • If your child still naps, try to keep him or her awake until his or her normal first nap time (according to the current clock). Your child will probably want to nap one hour earlier than normal. Don’t let that happen! Instead, do whatever it takes to keep him or her awake until as close as possible to his or her normal first nap time and then follow the usual schedule thereafter.li>
  • If your child no longer naps, spend your day doing activities according to the usual time (even though the clock has changed).
  • When it gets dark outside, turn on more lights in the house to fool the brain into thinking it’s not quite time to go to bed.
  • Regardless of the time, keep your usual bedtime routine. Consistency is what our kids depend on to feel safe and secure.

Don't forget, to take care of yourself, and your own sleep needs, too!

You can find out everything you ever wanted to know about Daylight Saving Time here: http://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/

If you need the correct time, exactly, check out http://www.time.gov/ for the official U.S. time

Helpful Sources:

Daylight Savings End: Fall Back with Ease http://www.bcm.edu/news/features/item.cfm?newsID=731

http://kids.baristanet.com/2012/11/fall-back-tips-for-parents-daylight-saving-time-ends-on-sunday/

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