Daylight Savings Time: How to help your kids adjust to the time change

Daylight Savings time, SpringForward

By: Lee-Anne Ekland

Spring Forward March 14th. Set your clocks ahead before you go to bed on Saturday.

When you wake up on Sunday morning don’t be surprised if you are dog-tired. You’ll have lost an hours sleep if you went to bed at the usual time.

While it really might not seem like a big deal as we’re already sleep deprived mamas, our children are tremendously affected by the time change leading to day and even weeks of living in Cranksville. I can think of better places to spend my time.

More difficult than jet lag. Whaaat?

That hour (of lost sleep) is even more difficult for kids to deal with than flying cross-country to a whole new time zone,” says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia who specializes in pediatric sleep. “It can throw off their sleep, appetite, attention span, mood, everything.”


A child’s body clock is set by light and dark patterns, not by what it reads on your watch, Mindell explains.

When you travel to a new time zone, it’s still light and dark at the same points during the day. With daylight saving time, though, that changes, and it can take seven to ten days for a child’s internal clock to “reset.”

With this in mind, here are three tips that will help ensure your little ones adjust to the time change so that you don’t end up a with a Crankfest on your hands for the weeks to come.

3 Tips to help your Littles Adjust to Daylight Savings Time

1. Begin shifting your child’s bedtime

Start tonight if you can!  If she usually goes down at 8:00, for example, have her under the covers by 7:45 the first night and 7:30 the next. This is a small enough change that she can deal with and should still be able to fall asleep. It will help make for less of a shock on Sunday night.

2. Stick to your current daytime routine

Once the time change occurs keep to your new schedule. Continue to have your child’s meals, snacks, naps, bedtimes, everything, at the same time as usual.

3. Expose your child to bright light

Open the blinds or curtains first thing in the morning or turn on the bedroom light to help reprogram her internal clock faster.

How are you going to deal with daylight savings time this weekend? We’d love to hear from you!

Lee-Anne Ekland is the Community Director at Modern Mama Vancouver and manages the content here on Modern Mama. When she’s not working here and there, she’s over here at Mom  Mom Paradigm focuses on sorting through the amazing journey that is motherhood through the eyes of her child and blogs about healthy living, lifestyle, parenting on occasion, wine and skin care.


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