It's coming! Are you ready?
In the United States, Spring is on it’s way.
For us in the Chicago area, it might be hard to contemplate that fact
-- (It seems like we will never be done with the gray, cold weather),
but on Sunday, March 10 daylight savings will begin.
Time to set the clocks forward one hour.
Moving the clocks forward and back can affect many of us for a few days. For parents or educators, an extra cup of coffee, or two, might do the trick.
For a neurotypical child it can be a challenge, and can be even more problematic for the neurodiverse child.
Tips on managing time change
1. Start sooner and move clocks gradually.
Instead of changing a child’s bedtime by one hour, start moving it slowly over time. Gradually moving the clock can help the body become accustomed to the change without a drastic difference.
For example - You can start the week before and move bedtime by 10 minutes each night. Or, you can start two weeks before, and every 2-3 days, move it by 15 minutes.
Then, do the same for morning wake-up.
2. Keep a consistent routine.
It’s tempting to take advantage of the extra sunlight near the end of the day, but our bodies thrive on consistency, so do your best to keep the schedule the same.
3. Light blocking panels or shades.
Our internal clocks take cues from the environment. Sunlight affects the brain’s production of melatonin (the hormone that helps us fall asleep). Being in a darkened space can help aid with sleep. Room darkening window panels are a quick and fairly inexpensive way to help block the sunlight. Personally, I really like the brand, Eclipse. It does the trick and for a fair price. Plus it comes in lots of colors and patterns. Along with the link above to Amazon, I have also found the Eclipse brand at Walmart and Target for less than $10 per panel!
4. Turn off screens earlier
Yeah, easier said than done, right? The blue light that’s emitted from our devices also affects the brain’s production of melatonin. Put on your creative hat and think about things to relax and calm the body before bed. Ideas: play a board game, read, color, take a bath, puzzles, Playdoh, bubbles, listen to music, Legos, pack up lunch for next day, sensory bins/bottles, dolls or cars, audio book or podcast, cuddling up with a pet or stuffed animals.
Many studies show that people who have an active lifestyle are prone to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Plus, there are SO many benefits to exercise so... why not? Just be mindful of when vigorous exercise takes place. With an extra hour of sunlight, you may be tempted to stay at the park late, but it’s best to exercise at least a few hours before bedtime.
Do you have any tips on how to ease into losing an hour of sleep?
Share with us!
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