The bad news is, daylight saving time is on March 10.
The good news is, this one is slightly less terrible than the other one.
"In my opinion, 'spring forward' is much better than 'fall back,'" said Katie Pitts , a certified pediatric sleep consultant and mom of two. "That being said, it still can be a jolt for our little ones."
With more sunshine in the evening hours and the chance to sleep a bit longer in the mornings, "springing forward" can be a tough adjustment.
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But before you give up on sleep forever, take these tips from experts and seasoned moms for surviving the shift.
1. Think of it like jet lag
“Traveling west to east is more challenging than traveling in the east to west direction,” says Dr. Judith Owens, director of sleep medicine at the Children's National Health System in Washington, D.C. “That is because the human circadian clock is actually a little longer than 24 hours, so it’s easier for us to stay up later than to fall asleep earlier in relation to our usual bedtime.”
Owens suggests figuring at least one day per time zone crossed to adjust to the new time zone or time change, which means the biggest impact will be on Sunday night when kids might have a hard time falling asleep.
2. Wear them out
On the Monday after the time shift, Jacque Rogers Foster's four kids struggle with waking up for school. To help them feel tired enough for an earlier bedtime, Rogers Foster and her husband, who live in Greenville, South Carolina, have developed a strategy.
Remember: Kids will be kids. Kids will make mistakes using media. Try to handle errors with empathy and turn a mistake into a teachable moment. But some indiscretions, such as sexting, bullying, or posting self-harm images, may be a red flag that hints at trouble ahead. Parents must observe carefully their children's behaviors and, if needed, enlist supportive professional help, including the family pediatrician.
"We wear them out on Sunday," Rogers Foster explained. "No indoor anything — our local children's museum, playground until dark, trampoline in the playroom after dinner — so they’ll go to bed earlier than usual."
This trick will, of course, require extra energy from parents, too. But the restful evening will make up for it.
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3. Shift their schedule
If you can start a few days in advance, like Nashville, Tennessee mom Alexandra Toppins does, you can slowly nudge sleep to where you need it.
"We try to start a few days to a week before and move naps and bedtime by 15 minutes at a time every two days," said Toppins, who also uses this technique when she and her husband travel out of state with their 11-month-old daughter. "You may not be exactly on target when the time change comes, but you'll be close and the kids will adjust the rest soon enough."
Tackle fears with common sense. If she's scared of dogs, don't hustle her across the street when one is coming. Demystify the fear. ("Oh, a puppy! Let's ask the owner if we can feel how soft his fur is.") In tense moments—shots come to mind—be sympathetic but not too emotional, says Atlanta-area pediatrician Roy Benaroch. Say, "It will be OK. It will be over in a few minutes," not, "I know—it hurts! It hurts!"
4. Buy blackout curtains
"This is the best time change," said Amarillo, Texas mom Courtney Wagner. "My kids normally sleep an hour later for about a week — then their bodies usually adjust on their own."
But the bright light filtering into her kids' rooms at bedtime can occasionally cause a problem.
"Buy blackout curtains (shop our $11 favorites here) so they don't protest falling asleep when the sun is still shining bright in the windows," said Wagner.
Many moms swear by inexpensive paper shades like these , available on Amazon, which can be cut to size and stuck to a window.
Dr. Shalini Paruthi, co-director of the St. Luke's Sleep Medicine and Research Center in Chesterfield, Missouri, says that keeping the room dark the entire time a child is sleeping and maintaining a temperature between 65 and 72 degrees will help, too.
5. Split the difference
In this method, parents split the extra hour by scheduling bed and nap times 30 minutes later to allow their child to adjust.
"If nap time was usually at 9:30 a.m., it’s now at 10:00 a.m. The same goes for the afternoon nap," said Pitts. "Bedtime, which is typically at 7:00 p.m. would be 7:30 p.m. instead."
Children with obesity are at higher risk for having other chronic health conditions and diseases, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes.
"This will mean that your baby will be going to bed a little earlier or sooner than the normal wake times in between sleep, but it’s not so much that it’s going to interfere with his schedule too much," Pitts continued. "It may take him more time to fall asleep since he may not be as tired, but in a week’s time, he will be back on track again."
On day four, parents can move forward to to the correct bed or nap time.
"Give it time," said Pitts. "And know that your baby will get back on schedule within a week, possibly two."
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Meghan Holohan Sally Farhat Kassab contributed to this story. The original publication date was March 7, 2018.