OK parents of young children, it is that time of the year again when we have our annual opportunity to get our kids back on their regular sleep schedule. By the end of the summer our family’s bedtimes are wildly out of control, strict bedtimes have relaxed, kids are up to all hours of the night wandering the corridors of the house asking for crackers and peanuts because they know we won’t give them sweets past dark. Then school starts and things are messy, kids are staying up too late, getting up too early and by the end of October everybody is tired, harried and pretty much insane. But here is our chance, here is our opportunity to recoup all those lost hours of sleep and wrench my children back into an appropriate schedule. The solution? The time change from daylight savings time back to standard time.
It is the end of daylight savings time again, one of the strangest times of the year when we in the United States of America decide to do a collective time warp and ‘fall back’ one hour. I have always thought we should make this a National Holiday as it is a day that affects all of us deeply and in equal measure. We should get a day off to recover from the collective jet lag that must ensue for the few days following this agreed upon time shift.
Now for the children, it is my contention that they should not know anything about this time changing. Not only will this shield them from the unsettling knowledge that time is arbitrary and malleable, it is also an opportunity to put them to bed an hour earlier than usual. The most important thing to enact this change is not to tell the children about daylight savings time at all under any circumstances. Do not set any of the clocks back an hour so that that the kids can see what the real new time it is. Then when it is time to go to bed you can kiss them goodnight an hour earlier than they are used to without them knowing it or even feeling it in their bones. After a week or so of putting them to bed this way the family schedule should settle in to a more amenable one where kids go to sleep at a reasonable hour and parents have time to act like husband and wife for a few hours a night instead of 24/7 care-giving partners. Note of caution: Putting kids to sleep an hour earlier will result in most children waking up an hour earlier and the consequences that ensue. I suppose every family should pick their poison in this respect.
If you are dealing with an infant who is on their own space time continuum, this time change will not affect their schedule or yours in the least, it only means the world will be off kilter for a week or two before your baby slowly adjusts to a new schedule of worldly events like pick up and drop off times at the babysitter’s house. As for my own kids I am hoping once again this year that the time change will quash that lingering summertime habit of staying up too late and return this family to normalcy, whatever that looks like.