Monday, March 10, 2008

A Note on Daylight Savings

So this past weekend witnessed our time to spring forward in our country’s bi-annual tradition of altering our clocks to maximize the amount of daylight we enjoy during a day. It was established for many reasons, all which attempt to use the sun to our benefit: retail sales, sports, and other activities that exploit daylight, as well as reduce the use of electricity. In contrast, the practice actually disadvantages things such as farming, entertainment, and a great number of jobs that rely on set sun times as well. Though the practice is controversial (my husband considers it an atrocity and so, unless you have a few hours to spare, do not ask how he feels about it), it is an inevitable marker of the change in seasons.

Why write about this on a blog devoted to parenting? Because, in all the hoopla surrounding the change in times, apparently, our children never get the memo. It’s hard enough adjusting the nap and bedtimes of a highly scheduled baby, but even harder to convince a two year old that it is time for night-night when the sun is still smiling on her shiny world.

What is the best way to make the transition in time a seamless one?

Springing Ahead- I actually look forward to the loss in one hour’s sleep because it marks a rare time when my children actually sleep past 7 o’clock. Unfortunately, the business of going to bed earlier is not so enjoyable.

1) Try to put them down for their naps a little earlier, or even (gasp!) try to keep the length shorter. Let the phone ring, clang the pots and pans, and, in general, keep the naptime inducers at bay so that, when bedtime rolls around, they may be a little more open to going to bed earlier.
2) Take advantage of the extended light by running them completely ragged. You may wear yourself out in the process, but the last thing you need is a kid with energy to burn come 7 o’clock. As my siblings-in-law, Jeannie and Kevin, say, “Smoke their bags”.
3) Avoid stimulants. I realize most of you choose not to offer your child a nice cup of coffee after dinner, but other things you may consider holding off on are sugary desserts, treats, juice, and even fruits.
4) Extend the reading time. Reading to your kids is not only important for language and cognitive development, but also the perfect way to wind down the day. A warm bath, warm milk, and a few extra books will help them decompress and adjust to the time.

Finally, if you share my husband’s view that changing the times is complete madness and needs to be stopped, feel free to email a note to your congressman or woman letting them know at:
Contacting the Congress Email Directory

Also, check out for more info on the subject.

****One more idea- Use the bi-annual convention of changing your clocks to also check your smoke detectors.

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