Dear CMP,

My daughter always has a hard time adjusting to daylight savings time changes. Do you have any suggestions for making the transition easier?

Not Looking Forward to Spring Forward

Dear Not Looking Forward to Spring Forward,

Daylight savings can be hard on the whole family. Keep in mind these four easy steps to make this year a little easier on your child and yourself.

Start gradually.

About a week before the big switch, start extending your child’s bedtime by 15 minute increments until your child is going to bed as close to the new bedtime as possible. Try waking them up earlier in similar fashion if keeping them awake is too challenging.

Stick to their bedtime routine.

Maintaining normal bedtime rituals, like bath, book, cuddling, and quiet time, can help foster calming signals conducive for sleep.

Manage the light and limit technology.

Our internal biological clocks, called circadian rhythms, create an internal timing mechanism for sleep and wakefulness. Melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate our internal clocks, increases as it becomes darker, facilitating sleep. Close the blinds and dim the lights as bed time approaches. Melatonin shuts down when light is out. Open the blinds early in the morning upon waking to let the sunshine in. Using light emitting devices decreases melatonin, so limit technology close to bed time, especially during this adjustment period.

Be patient.

It takes most people, big or small, about a week to acclimate to a new sleep pattern. Cut yourself, and your little one, some slack as you spring forward.

As we get ready to Spring Forward consider adding these five household tasks to your routine.

  1. Replace smoke/carbon monoxide alarm batteries. The National Fire Protection Association suggests replacing your smoke and CO alarm batteries twice a year. While you’re at it do a quick test and double check placement.
  2. Replace the filters in your air conditioner and heater.
  3. Change out the baking soda in the freezer and the fridge.
  4. Update your emergency and earthquake kits. Add new batteries, water, canned goods, medications, and larger or additional clothing if children or family has grown. Don’t forget about your pets! They need food and water too.
  5. Take a nap! Monday March 13, 2017 is o”cially National Napping Day. Do your part and give yourself a little R & R.