Daylight savings time is just a few weeks away. I HATE Daylight Savings Time, the fall one. Spring is more manageable. Fall is very difficult for us around here, for at least a week or two after the turning back. I was born and raised in Suburban Philly, so I do love Ben Franklin. Just not this idea. Daylight Savings Time can be hard on anyone, but especially on small children and kids with special needs. Some children have a really hard time with transitions, and this is a pretty big transition. Here are some tips to help your family better adjust and keep mom sane.
This is my 7th or 8th time doing this with K, so I now have it all planned out. I approach this like I’m preparing for battle. And really, it is a battle to stay sane. Even when things are normal, he’s falling asleep at the dinner table at 5:00 and wants to wake up at 3 or 4 am for a week or two after DST. And I don’t remember DST being quite so close to Halloween and all that candy. The dogs start whining to go out around 3-4 am too and following me around the kitchen for dinner around 4 pm. It’s just dreadful.
This is why I prepare–it’s all about predict, prepare, prevent. So here is some of what I do to prepare our special needs family for Daylight Savings Time.
Clear our schedules, stick to our routine and hunker down
I try to keep our schedules clear and disruptions to a minimum. No over-scheduling of activities, I allow for plenty of down time. I did a huge grocery shopping trip so that outside of work and school, we really don’t have to leave the house for anything. I sort of treat this like a huge snow storm, except that we leave the house for school. The first full day of DST, our sun will set at 4:59! Ugh, before 5:00! I know this is going to be tough on everyone, so I don’t want my family stressed out by commitments and stuff. I will stick to our morning and night time routines as best I can to normalize the new bedtime hour.
It’s statistically proven that when DST hits, people crave comfort foods. I allow for that, but healthy stuff. If DST is going to make you feel sluggish anyway, you don’t want crappy food to make you feel extra sluggish, right? You can make comfort foods like a spaghetti dinner and salad, which satisfies the cravings, satiates but is not unhealthy.
Stay hydrated with good liquids like milk and water. Avoid sodas, more coffee than what you normally drink, and alcohol.
Exercise and free play~limit screens
Fresh air is good for the body and soul. Make sure everyone is getting unstructured outdoor play time. Whether it be walking the dogs or playing on our swingset, I want everyone to sleep soundly when they do sleep and exercise helps with that. We know that excess screen time, particularly in the evening, disrupts sleep patterns. Read a book instead.
Choose your battles
If kids are cranky (and mom too!), you have to choose your battles. For example, we usually clean up toys every evening. While I want to stick to our routines, if they are really cranky and fighting it, it may just not be worth it. Some extra toys on the floor is ok once in a while.
Awareness and patience
If I’m feeling stressed out or see that my kids are, I do my best to move past it. Remind myself–this too, shall pass. Until next year, anyway.
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