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Five Tips to Help Kids Spring Forward

March 10, 2017



At night, a kid lying on top of his bed asleep next to an open laptop

The biggest crybabies during daylight saving time might well be the babies.

It takes work to get children to go to sleep and stay asleep. On March 12, when we move our clocks forward one hour, these fragile sleep schedules might be disrupted, setting off tears and tantrums.

Sleep is important for everyone, but especially for children. It’s key to their emotional and physical well-being and growth, as well as their ability to learn and perform well in school.

“There’s also growing evidence that insufficient sleep can result in metabolic changes, thus increasing a child’s risk of developing insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and becoming obese,” says Kaiser Permanente pediatrician Shari Vasquez Directo, MD, in West Los Angeles.

Kaiser Permanente experts offer the following four tips to help ease the transition to longer days.

  1. Gradually move up bedtimes. If you haven’t already, start moving up bedtimes by 10 or 15 minutes each night until is back to normal. “Daylight saving time can feel like jet lag, so we have to slowly acclimate to the new ‘time zone,’” explains Alexandra Hall, sleep specialist with the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center’s Sleep Clinic.
  2. Soak in the sun – early. Go to the playground, take a walk or eat outside early in the morning. This will help reset internal clocks and tell the body to be awake.
  3. Stick to a routine. Routines become especially important when they’ve been shaken up. Be sure to set a relaxing mood with a bath, dimmed lights and story time.
  4. Limit stimulants. A few hours before bedtime, refrain from giving your children sweets or letting them play with electronics — these can wake them up.
  5. Darken rooms. It could be difficult for children to go to bed when they see it’s light out. After dinner, be sure to draw the curtains throughout the home, but especially in the bedrooms.