In theory, it’s just a measly hour, but it wreaks havoc on neurotypical people. It’s like Armageddon for kids from hard places.
Fortunately, knowing it will be a hard adjustment can help us plan ahead and adjust our expectations so the whole experience goes as well as it can.
A lot of other parenting websites recommend gradually shifting your routines by about 10 minutes a day starting a week beforehand. You may actually want to consider gradually changing your clocks as well.
Build connecting and anxiety-reducing activities into your daily wakeup and bedtime routines. Find an activity that your child enjoys to lessen the blow of having to go to bed earlier or get up earlier. Try a hand massage, favorite read aloud, or read through I Love You Rituals for other ideas. Lastly build extra time into especially your morning routine so it’s not rushed. My kids can easily be convinced to get up when there’s already their favorite breakfast waiting.
Our bodies’ circadian rhythms are largely dependent on light. Blue light is best in the morning and warmer tones cue our bodies to wind down . Kind of like the sun. Ideally, you’ll want to expose your kiddo to sunlight as early as you can in the morning. You need exposure to 10,000 lux for 30-45 minutes a day to set your biological clock. Most buildings are only lit to 320-500 lux. Walk around the block together or eat breakfast on the deck. You’ll at least need time near a sunny window. You’ll also need to tone back blue lighting at night that usually comes in the form of electronics.
Lower the Bar
Lastly, despite your best efforts, the time adjustment may just suck. As GI Joe says, “Knowing is half the battle.” Plan extra self-care for you and lower expectations for the whole house. Create space in your schedule for the disruptions that are bound to happen. You may also want to re-stock your wine collection 😉
What are your best time-change tricks?