Daylight Savings Time 2011: Longer Days, Later Bedtimes

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Does daylight saving time wreak havoc on your kids' bedtimes?

This Sunday, we’ll spring forward ahead, but lose an hour in the process, so while I am thrilled that after this cold and snowy winter to finally be entering the spring season, we’ll also lose and hour.

For some, daylight savings time proves to be more hazardous. There are more reports of increased traffic and workplace accidents. Some say heart attacks rise during this time. Generally speaking, the biggest obstacle is a lack of sleep in our already sleep deprived culture.

For our family, it’s not so much the hour that’s the problem as it is adjusting to it being daylight longer each day. Somehow the change doesn’t faze me quite as much as it did back when my kids were babies and toddlers.

Back then, it was torturous to get the kids in bed on time. I would usually put a toddler down at 7:30pm for the night but once it started to stay light out, it became more difficult for them to calm down and go to sleep. Right before bathtime, I would draw the curtains and try to make the room as dark as possible so they wouldn’t object to going to bed.

It often worked except those few times when the wind would blow just enough to ripple the drape and cause the small drop of sunlight to appear. Then I’d hear, “the sun is still up, why do I have to go to bed?” But like I said, it worked most of the time when they were very young and just learning how to speak and tell time. (Click here for 5 great tips to surviving daylight savings time with your family.)

Now that my kids are older, they stay up longer past daylight but it’s these lengthier days of sun that signal them to play longer, run around later, and as they bask in the warmer spring days and outdoor fun, they generally stay awake more hours. Then we start the nightly routines later which means bedtime get pushed up a little.

Gradually, we’ll have grown accustomed to the longer days but initially the abrupt change seems a bit jarring. Spring is a funny time of year. We start out freezing on the little league fields and end up sweating, holding bottles of water… just in time to usher in summer, and best of all summer vacation.

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