A lot of you look forward to this weekend because you get an extra hour of sleep. When you go to bed at midnight on Saturday it will really only be 11 p.m. You might need one less cup of coffee to get through church on Sunday morning.
But for those of us with young kids we dread both the end and beginning of Daylight Savings Time.
Many children have delicate sleep habits, and the slightest interruption throws their entire world off-balance. I never knew until I became a parent what chaos just one hour of missed sleep causes.
If you’re a rookie when it comes to children and DST, you might try letting them stay up an hour later the night you turn back the clocks. Heh-heh. You have so much to learn young grasshopper.
That internal clock that we all have, it works especially well in kids. It doesn’t matter if they go to sleep at 8 pm or two in the morning. Most kids won’t sleep in. So put them to bed at nine and they’re still up at six. Except six is now five, and they’re tired because they slept an hour less than normal.
Now you’re in for the longest day of the year. And what you get out of the 25 hour day is an extra hour with whiny kids. There is a meltdown when the banana breaks in half and your child can’t bring himself to eat a broken banana. There is a meltdown when you child realizes that Pluto and Goofy are both dogs, but only Pluto acts like a dog. There is a meltdown when the red socks won’t turn into blue socks no matter how your child wills them too.
A bit of advise for Childhood DST Syndrome newbies: DO NOT schedule Dr. appointments, trips to the grocery store or dining out the day after you turn the clocks forward or backward. You will save yourself so much pain and embarrassment if you just stay at home in quarantine, possibly for an entire week.
You make it through the morning. The broken banana that splattered on the wall when you kid hurled it across the room is cleaned up. You stopped the Pluto/Goofy tantrum by Netflixing Tom & Jerry. The sock problem was solved by just removing the offending socks from his feet. You made it through dinner by serving Mac & Cheese. Vegetables on a day like this are just grenades waiting to explode. Why tempt fate?
You watch the clock all evening. It moves so slowly. The sun sets earlier now which makes the after-dinner hour feel like the middle of the night. All those times you wished you had an extra hour in your day? Ha! Turns out 24 is all you can really handle. Finally, those hands on the clock reach 8 pm. Hallelujah! Time to stuff the kids in bed.
But even though they’ve been groggy and cranky all day somehow just as bedtime arrives they’re wired like someone gave them a can of Red Bull and a bag of Cotton Candy colored with Red Dye No. 40. There’s a point where tired kids go from cranky to punk drunk, and they are highly intoxicated.
So they go to bed late again and wake up early again. This repeats for about week. You begin to question everything you thought you knew about parenting, and wonder why you didn’t just join Greenpeace after college when you had the chance. Then one night the kids are at last completely spent. They pass out in bed at their actual bedtime, snoring and drooling soundly until the appropriate time the next morning.
Congratulations! You just rode out a nasty bout of Childhood DSTS. You get to do it again in March. Losing an hour is even more fun, and just wait until the sun is still up at 10 pm. And so are your kids.