How To Prepare Babies And Kids For The End Of Daylight Saving Time

by Tanay Howard
A baby bottle and a clock

It’s almost time to set the clocks back! Daylight saving time ends in 2021 on Sunday, November 7th at 2 a.m. At that time we officially set our clocks back to 1am and we enjoy that extra hour of sleep. HA! As of mom with three kids seven and under I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed the perk of “falling behind”.

In theory, it sounds amazing. For teens and parents of older kids? An extra hour of sleep is probably a dream come true. For parents all over the U.S. with young children like me, it’s the beginning of a hellish week or so of trying to get the kids back on a normal sleep schedule. Nothing about the idea of seeing my children before the sun is even up on Sunday morning excites me. And WTF is the point of Daylight Saving Time anyway, if not only to ruin our lives?

A Quick History Lesson On Daylight Saving Time in The United States

  • In the United States, daylight saving time was first used in 1918 when a bill introduced the idea of a seasonal time shift. It lasted seven months before the bill was repealed.
  • During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt re-established the idea of daylight saving time. It was called “War Time.”War Time began in February 1942 and lasted until the end of September 1945.
  • In 1966, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 established the idea of regulating a yearly time change. Daylight saving time would begin the last Sunday in April and end the last Sunday in October.
  • During the 1973 oil embargo, the United States Congress ordered a year-round period of daylight saving time to save energy. The period would run from January 1974 to April 1975. The plan did little to save energy and in October 1974, the U.S. switched back to standard time.
  • From 1987 through 2006, daylight saving time started the first weekend in April, running through the last weekend in October.
  • In 2007, the start and end of daylight saving time shifted again. That year, it began on the second Sunday in March and it ended on the first Sunday in November.

Via Gary Stephenson – Meteorologist, Spectrum Local News

So, what’s the point exactly?

The idea is to correlate the clocks with the amount of natural daylight that we have outside. It’s been proposed for reasons such as energy conservation, use of less fuel, and more hours of natural daylight during the time when people are up and about. The Department of Transportation, which is in charge of daylight saving time, says the practice saves energy, prevents traffic accidents and reduces crime.

How do we prepare babies and kids for the end of daylight saving time?

The bigger picture for most of us is, while springing ahead always seems fun, the falling back part for parents with young kids SUCKS. If your children (like most) are early risers then on Sunday morning you are likely preparing yourself to see their excited faces an hour earlier than whatever ungodly early hour they already wake up on weekends. While the reality is things will likely be out of wack for a few days, here are a couple ideas on how to prep for your kiddos for the big switch.

  • Gradually push their bedtime up. While some kids would be excited about going to sleep an hour later, for younger kids the drastic time jump may be a little more difficult. Gradually pushing their bedtime later in preparation for the time change will have them in bed an hour later Saturday evening, and (hopefully) up an hour later on Sunday morning. The night after “falling back” move back to regular bedtime.
  • Turn up the lights! Getting plenty of natural sunlight during the day helps to keep your circadian rhythms on track. If you are not able to go out and get natural sunlight for whatever reason (or it’s a cloudy day) then turning on the lights during daylight hours is a good substitute.
  • Adjust naptime. If your baby or toddler usually naps for a set amount of time, try waking them up earlier so they’re ready for bed earlier.
  • Wear them out. What’s the best way to make sure your kids are tired at bedtime — no matter what time that is? Wear them out first! Saturday might just be the perfect day to incorporate some sort of super-physical activity; just make sure it’s early enough in the day so that they’re not wound up when they’re supposed to be winding down.
  • Avoid extra stimulation before bedtime. That’s like kids’ sleep routine 101, right? So you may have to turn off the TV, hide the screens, cut back on the sugar, and make quiet time a little bit earlier in the days leading up to and following the time change.
  • Hide all the clocks. Kidding, LOL. But I loved the days before my oldest could tell time and I could send them to bed earlier. Now he will point to the clock and remind me that its not quite time yet!

It could be worth mentioning that Arizona and Hawaii, as well as U.S. territories, don’t observe daylight saving time at all. So if all else fails, you can pack up your kids, move to Guam, and never have this problem again!