Photo courtesy Ashley Jones

More Daylight For My Kids, Please — Even If I Lose An Hour Of Sleep

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Unpopular opinion #3,281: Daylight Saving Time (DST) freaking rocks. There, I said it. Springing forward means more daylight for my kids, and I am all the way here for that. Evening strolls without a flashlight and post-dinnertime trips to our neighborhood pool are well within my reach once the calendar flips past DST, and I am in absolute heaven.

For some parents, the thought of losing an hour of sleep is their absolute worst nightmare. The words "spring forward" spark deep-seeded fear and dread. You ask, "So, you mean my kids will wake up at a time that now feels even earlier than normal after refusing to go to bed on time?" and respond with a resounding "H*ll no."

I get it. I really do. My kids were once early risers and relentless toddlers who demanded toaster waffles with diced strawberries and a tall glass of ice cold chocolate milk immediately upon waking at an unholy hour. They would poke and prod me awake long before the sun even thought about peeking through my blinds. I loathed their insistence that I climb out of my warm bed and give in to their every pre-dawn whim.

I won't lie to you — I do not remember those days with much fondness. The exhaustion was like a ruthless dictator, slowly counting down the hours until the inevitable bedtime struggle. Then, we would do it all again the next day. Ugh. It was not a fun time and I was far from a fun mom through it all.

Photo courtesy Ashley Jones

But now that my kids are in elementary school, life is drastically different. I've learned a few things about how to handle DST with kids, and now I actually look forward to springing forward. Here's my trick: Time outside relatively close to bedtime makes them fall asleep faster. More daylight is a blessing, my friends.

More sunlight later in the day means I can literally wear my kids out ahead of their 8 p.m. bedtime with outdoor activity. Yes, they may still balk a bit when the clock strikes bedtime. Their brains will tell them it actually feels like 7 p.m. and they may start to refuse to wind down, but the hope is that their bodies will be too tired to care thanks to the extra outdoor play time.

Last year, we got a new puppy right after the start of DST. I am here to tell you that having a dog to walk is the perfect excuse to get outside more when daylight beings to stretch into the evening hours. Every night after dinner post-DST, my boys and I take our new pup on a nice, long walk. They pick up sticks and chase the dog on their scooters and soak up that extra bit of daylight. At the end of our walk, their little legs are nice and worn out. A quick bath, a few goodnight kisses, and they're off to dreamland closer to their normal bedtime than most moms could dream of after springing forward.

An evening trip to the park is also a DST lifesaver. My kids can run around at the park before the sun goes down and I can rest assured that they will be nice and exhausted by bedtime. (Even better if you have a backyard — tossing them outside to play for an hour works wonders.)

When those warmer temperatures ease their way into our lives in late spring, it's hard to withstand more than a few minutes in the blazing mid-day sun, so I am forever thankful for more daylight in the evening. Losing an hour of sleep to DST may not be your favorite thing in the world, but the opportunity to get your kids out of the house and bask in a bit of sunlight before bedtime is totally worth it.