Tips for Adjusting to the End of Daylight Savings Time

Preschool child playing in the school playground

Welcome to the semiannual routine buster known as the time change. For this one, we fall back. If you have clocks with hands, you move the hour hand back one hour on November 3. For those with digital clocks, you can watch the time change from 1:59 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. if you really want to be up that early on Sunday morning.

It always seemed that the selling point to this seasonal time shift is that you get an extra hour of sleep in the morning. The novelty of that lasts for all of one morning. By mid-afternoon, it’s already starting to get dark and you find yourself nodding off around 6 o’clock.

For children, time is an abstraction and trying to explain to them what the time change is all about is like trying to explain calculus. Just to prove that point, we interviewed several Pre-K students at Kiddie Academy of Abingdon, Maryland, asking them what they were going to do with their “extra hour.” Some said they’d use the time to play with toys. Asked what they’d do if they didn’t have toys, they said they’d use the hour to buy them (smart kids). Others said they’d help clean the house for an extra hour (yeah, right). None said they’d use the time to sleep (just wait until you grow up).

Tips for the Transition

They might not know – or care – that the time is changing or why, but they probably will feel it due to changes in their routine – going to bed later, getting up later, eating later and so on. Sandra Graham, Kiddie Academy’s Director of Training, offered some tips on things you can do to help make the adjustments to their routine smoother:

• Start early – make any changes to the children’s bed times prior to the time change so they have time to adjust
• Stay on a regular routine – if you’re making changes, be consistent
• Make sure their room has darkening shades to help with sleep – remember that there will be more morning light when the time change occurs
• It’s not just bedtime – your child may get hungry earlier, so be prepared to shift meal times. Bath times and other routines, too
• Be patient – as with any changes, it can take some time for the adjustments to work

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