It’s March. The disruption and stress of the holidays is a distant memory. Your family is hitting its stride and settling into a solid routine. Cold and flu season has peaked (fingers crossed) so your kids aren’t coughing you awake every four hours, and we’re inching away from days with 40-degree swings in temperature. The whole family can finally relax, breathe, and get a full night’s rest. It’s quiet … too quiet.
*Cue Daylight Saving Time crashing in like the Kool-Aid Man*
Daylight Saving Time is here to steal an hour, mess up the sleep patterns of everyone in your house, and make you wonder whether you’re early or late for at least a week afterward.
We are going to spring forward on March 8, and what used to be a minor inconvenience in your brunch schedule before kids can now set you back a week or more in the bedtime war.
It’s apparently not uncommon to worry about the effects of DST on kids: While doing my research, Google suggested to me “How do I change my child to Daylight Saving Time?” Come on, Google. We’re still waiting on that answer.
At risk of sounding like my 3-year-old: But whyyyy?
Twice a year, we are all asking ourselves why we’re doing this at all. And the answer kind of feels like “Because I said so.”
So where does DST come from?
It seems like the agriculture industry always get the blame for this strange practice, something to do with farmers needing more daylight to work on their crops.
But farmers work by the sun regardless of the clock, so they’ve been a bit of a scapegoat all these years.
In the US, Daylight Saving actually started in 1918 to save energy during WWI. People would take advantage of daylight hours for working so they didn’t have to use as much energy.
It became federal law in 1966, and politically, business interest groups have kept it going. More daylight hours means more time when people will spend money. I’d like to say they’re wrong, but a solo trip to Target after bedtime doesn’t sound too bad to me.
Taming your beasts
When the clock moves forward an hour, it’ll stay dark longer in the morning and stay light later at night. So look forward to dragging your kids out of bed in the morning and wrestling them back under the covers at bedtime.
- One way to ease the transition for your kids: start setting their clocks and the family’s routines ahead 15 minutes each night. It’ll soften the blow on Sunday, and having it on your mind for several days will ensure that you’re not that family that shows up to church an hour late.
- Consider blackout curtains to help kids settle down at night, and turn off all screens an hour before bedtime.
- If your kid can handle skipping a nap without becoming a total monster (mine can’t), cut out the nap for a few days while they adjust to the new bright bedtime so they’re more than ready for sleep.
The boring adult stuff
I know you don’t need any more to-dos on your list, but Daylight Saving in the spring and in the fall are great reminders that it’s time to tackle tasks you should be doing twice a year.
Emergency preparedness: Check and change your flashlight batteries, test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, look at your fire extinguisher levels, replenish your first aid kit, and go over your family emergency plan with everyone in the family.
Schedule dental visits: Set up cleanings for each family member to keep your chompers healthy.
Home maintenance: Take this chance to handle some of those home maintenance tasks that should be done once or twice a year. Things like checking your hot water heater, changing water filters in your fridge, reversing the direction of your ceiling fans, and examining your childproofing are great projects for Spring Forward day. Handle these to-dos and you’ll feel accomplished and just tired enough to fall asleep while the sun’s still up.
If nothing else, you can buy alcohol one hour sooner.
Time to celebrate, whatever time it is.
Photography: Lynn Walker Photography