8 Tips For Surviving Daylight Savings With Kids

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by The Futon Shop. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Post may contain affiliate links.

Spring is quickly approaching but before we can tiptoe through the tulips, we need to survive daylight savings with kids.

As a parent you might not be used to getting a lot of sleep. While I hear there are mythical children out there that do sleep for their parents, I believe they are about as rare as a picky 3-year-old eating chicken that’s not a nugget.

Surviving Daylight Savings With Kids

With young kids it’s often poor sleep, night terrors and nightmares that keep them from having sweet dreams. With older kids it can be school, friend stress or too many actives that keep them up at night.

Add a time change to that and life can get rough.

No matter if you’re springing forward or falling back, time changes are difficult. Just that one, little hour seems to throw off life just enough to heighten the crazy in every home.

So put on an extra pot of coffee, do some deep breathing and grab these tips from the experts on how to make it through the time change weekend and following week.

Surviving Daylight Savings With Kids - The Everyday Mom Life

Let them stay up later the night before

One tactic for helping kids adjust to daylight savings time is to just bite the bullet and let them stay up late.

This may work better with older children who already have a solid, decent sleep scheduled. However, it might not be the best approach for younger kids who are often more impacted by daylight savings changes.

However, even moving their bedtime just a half hour later can make a difference said Dr. Craig Canapari, the Director of the Pediatric Sleep Center at Yale in an interview with NPR.

“So, when we change the clocks, actually the internal clock doesn’t change,” Canapari said. “To give an example, my younger son, who’s six, goes to bed at 8 p.m. and gets up around 6:30 a.m. in the morning. What we’re going to do is just move his bedtime to 8:30 p.m.”

Start taking baby steps

A few days before the time change (the Thursday or Friday before) start moving bedtime later by 10 or 15 minutes each night. Mary Ellen Wells, the director of the Neurodiagnostic and Sleep Science Program at the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine, said in an interview with P&G Everyday that shifting bedtimes each night can help kids slowly adjust to the new sleep time. She describes this as a “break-in” time and says it will help bodies to “begin adjusting.”

Clinical phycologist Ben Michaelis, PhD agrees and said that a gradual approach is “the best approach for getting children to adjust to the time change.”

Get outdoors and play

Spend some time basking in the sun, especially in the morning. Wells said it will help with time change too.

“It has amazing positive effects on regulating sleep/wake cycles,” she said.

Additionally, physical activity outside will help with the transition too, says pediatric psychologist Dawn Dore-Stites, Ph.D. who is also a member of the pediatric sleep disorders team at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Doing this late in the afternoon can be particularly helpful. If you can’t get outside, she suggests some indoor ideas to help use up their energy.

“You can work physical activity into a variety of traditional household game,” she said in an interview with Proctor & Gamble. “Even if you’re playing tag in the basement before supper, that extra energy exertion can help.”

Take charge of the lights

The light will be a big factor in getting your kids to adjust to the time change. The body naturally releases melatonin, which controls the body’s circadian rhythm, when it gets darker out. Daylight savings, in particular springing forward, will impact this because it’s lighter out later. According to the National Sleep Foundation, you should turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bed and make it as dark as possible. Blackout shades will help here.

In the morning you want to make sure it is as light as possible. You may even have to turn on all the lights, recommends Daniel Lewin, Ph.D., associate director of sleep medicine at Children’s National Health System in Washington D.C.

When you fall back make sure that kids are exposed to more light in the evening by keeping lights in the house on and keep it darker in the morning, or they’ll be up with the sun.

Surviving Daylight Savings With Kids - The Everyday Mom Life

Make them cozy

Mattresses get your kids (and you) through the night and carry everyone off to dreamland. Make sure they’re a good place for your kids to nestle into. According to the Better Sleep Council when mattresses get old they no longer meet your family’s sleep needs.

We had an issue with my daughter and her mattress, which I bought from a furniture store. It was an awful and uncomfortable mattress to sleep on. Something about it just felt wrong, the fabric felt cheap and unnatural and she was constantly waking up.

Since it was newer, we didn’t have the money to buy her another one. However, when we received an organic, wool mattress topper from The Futon Shop we really solved a lot of our problems with her bed.

Not only is the mattress topper incredibly comfortable but it was also equally cozy and supportive. It’s 2 inches of 100% organic wool wrapped in a material that is handcrafted and made with 100% certified organic ingredients. It’s a dream to sleep on and so comfortable! It really made her whole sleeping and going to sleep experience better.

We have used it on her bed, but you can also use it on a futon.

Surviving Daylight Savings With Kids - The Everyday Mom Life

Surviving Daylight Savings With Kids - The Everyday Mom Life

Our mattress topper is rated soft and is chemical free, which is great since the original mattress was not at all soft and the fabric felt overly-processed.

This mattress not only made it easier for her and us to fall asleep (because we often lay in bed with her until she is asleep), but she also slept better on it – more soundly and was waking up less. That’s exactly the kind of comfort you want for daylight savings time.

Surviving Daylight Savings With Kids - The Everyday Mom Life

Surviving Daylight Savings With Kids - The Everyday Mom Life

Check out the other natural products you can grab at The Futon Shop. They sell futon mattresses AND regular bed mattresses made from organic wool and certified cotton. The even sell crib mattresses! Click here for more.

Adequate sleeping the days before

Even before the time changes, make sure your kid is sleeping like a baby. (Whomever came up with that saying clearly never had a baby.) Dr. Lewin explained in an interview with Parents that sleep begets sleep.

“So going into daylight saving time well-rested will greatly help your child because he won’t be cranky and overtired, which can make falling asleep even harder,” he said.

Don’t underestimate the impact

Research from the Better Sleep Council shows that 61 percent of Americans feel the impact of a lost or gained hour. About 39 percent of people report that they are in a worse mood the week following a time change. This may all be heightened in children.

“Even though an hour may not feel like much to you, it can have a big impact on your little one’s mood and behavior,” Michaelis said.


Be sympathetic

In the days after the time change, be a little more patient with your child as their bodies adjust. They might have a few more tantrums and you might need a bit more coffee, but everyone will survive.

For more mom tips, click here. 

Surviving Daylight Savings With Kids - The Everyday Mom Life

Surviving Daylight Savings With Kids - The Everyday Mom Life

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  • Marjie Mare March 09, 2018 02.13 pm

    Great tips particularly Daylight savings will be this weekend. Thanks for sharing.

    • Quirky Homemaker March 09, 2018 06.19 pm

      These are great ideas for smaller children! My kids are preteen/teen years and their sleep schedule on the weekend is all over the place anyway. We probably give them way too much leeway with that. I have heard that getting natural sunlight helps with the whole sleep cycle. Isn’t that funny? So, that’s a great tip. And couldn’t we all use a comfy mattress? It’s time for a new mattress and topper for us. Hope that you and your kids survive the week after the time change!

  • Ashley March 09, 2018 02.22 pm

    Ugh…I forgot that was this weekend. I feel like I always dread it and then it’s not THAT bad. But, I do feel like I plan ahead – these are great tips to add!

  • Amy March 09, 2018 02.53 pm

    Oh my gosh I didn’t even realize it was already time for daylight savings! Lol I have a new baby and she’s on such a good schedule…. for now. Thanks for these tips I’ll definitely be doing some of them.

  • Jordan | Read. Eat. Repeat. March 09, 2018 03.03 pm

    Ugh! I hate time changes! These are good tips for getting through the pain in the neck of daylight savings.

  • Cia Black March 09, 2018 05.33 pm

    I didn’t even know it was that time of year again. Our youngest always has the toughest transition during these time changes. I will for sure try these out, hopefully this year won’t be as much as a struggle as last year.

  • Quirky Homemaker March 09, 2018 06.20 pm

    These are great ideas for smaller children! My kids are preteen/teen years and their sleep schedule on the weekend is all over the place anyway. We probably give them way too much leeway with that. I have heard that getting natural sunlight helps with the whole sleep cycle. Isn’t that funny? So, that’s a great tip. And couldn’t we all use a comfy mattress? It’s time for a new mattress and topper for us. Hope that you and your kids survive the week after the time change!

  • Julie March 09, 2018 06.28 pm

    I am so not ready for daylight savings time. I wish it wasn’t this weekend. lol I love your flower light from IKEA on your daughter’s wall in her bedroom. We have that same light.

  • Jenn March 09, 2018 07.17 pm

    Springing forward is the worst ! I can’t deal well it as an adult. I know it’s going to be a little tough with my little one.

  • Kristy Bullard March 09, 2018 07.59 pm

    It always amazes me how much that one hour affects us. I’m going to follow your suggestion and let my kids stay up a little later the night before. Thanks for all the research and advice!

  • Niki March 09, 2018 10.13 pm

    This is some really helpful information. Though I don’t have any children, I’m definitely sharing this with my sister and other friends with kids.

  • Rebecca March 09, 2018 11.47 pm

    Daylight Savings with kids is the worst! It’s so hard for their bodies to adjust. Great ideas. thanks!

  • Twinspirational March 10, 2018 02.10 am

    These are great tips. We will pass this along to our older sister and see if they are good for our niece and nephew.

  • Amanda Martin March 10, 2018 04.21 am

    Great tips! So looking forward to brighter evenings

  • karla March 10, 2018 04.52 am

    Love your tips!

  • Gladys Parker March 10, 2018 05.08 am

    Great suggestions they’ve came up with. Love her shiny pink heart pillow! My son had special needs as a child and any brake from his regular routine and schedule would through him off. The night after changing the clocks (or days), vacation even to grandmas house would cause an meltdown of some kind.

  • Melinda March 10, 2018 08.55 am

    These are great tips! I hate daylight savings time!! I think being sympathetic might be the best one, after all you can do, the most important thing to remember is that they need you to be their rock and their comfort. Luckily, last year we moved to the South Pacific, where there’s no such thing! Love it!!!

  • Nicole Shillings March 10, 2018 02.00 pm

    This is great for kids! Now what do you do for dogs? Come tomorrow, my doggie wake up time will be 5 am!

  • Kristi Ann March 10, 2018 05.04 pm

    Daylight savings was not made for kids!! I don’t mind when we gain an hour because it makes bed time so much easier, but it’s impossible to get them to sleep when we lose the hour!

  • Kelly Edgar March 10, 2018 06.28 pm

    I think these are great ideas to help the kids with the transition of day light savings. I I don’t have kids so never thought of the impact that day lights saving would have, so this was an interesting and informative read 🙂

  • adriana March 10, 2018 07.27 pm

    Great tips! Getting outside is always a good one. I’m excited for the time change, it really means spring is here! 🙂

  • Emily March 10, 2018 07.46 pm

    I think getting the right amount of sun is the most important tip you’ve mentioned here!

  • Lisa Rios March 10, 2018 09.39 pm

    These are wonderful tips I can use for myself too LOL I’m not the biggest fan of Daylight Savings

  • Marissa Zurfluh March 11, 2018 12.45 am

    This is a really great post. Keeping them happy during work hours is huge to progress.

  • Karla March 11, 2018 01.51 am

    Love your tips! My daughter is really having a hard time adjusting for this time of the year. I hope she’ll be okay with the effects of daylight saving time. 🙂

  • Elizabeth O March 11, 2018 09.29 am

    These are great tips. It can be really difficult to transition to the time changes so these tips would really help people out.

  • Susannah March 12, 2018 03.14 am

    I’ve been dreading Daylight Savings Time! Thanks for the tips 🙂

  • Marielle Altenor March 12, 2018 03.27 am

    I’m actually really excited about Daylight Savings this time. Winter was so long and the sun going down so early was sooo depressing. I’m looking forward to longers days.

  • Tara March 12, 2018 05.27 am

    it’s such a rough transition for anyone, i’m sure it’s even more difficult on the kids!


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