Discovery Point Blog

March 4, 2020

4 Tips for Easing the Daylight Savings Time Change Transition

Children thrive when routines are in place. They transition better between activities when they know what to expect and when things will typically happen. When families follow routines, there are fewer disruptions and the whole family enjoys a more relaxed day. 

The start of Daylight Savings Time is one disruption no one can avoid. Even the single-hour time change will throw many families into disarray. Here are some tips from our child care team on how to help your family adjust as we spring forward.

Tip #1: Start Early

Even adults struggle with this time change and “losing” an hour of sleep. It’s especially challenging for children who aren’t used to the twice yearly change and haven’t developed coping mechanisms to deal with it. 

To help your little ones ease into the new schedule, start the transition with baby steps over the course of the week prior. Moving awake, nap, and bedtimes by 10 minutes each day can help little bodies be prepared for the schedule changes ahead. With a more gradual change, you’ll find there is less of a chance for your little one to hit that proverbial wall at their normal nap or bedtime.

Tip #2: Keep Your Schedule Light

Most families today run on a busy schedule. Between work, school, sports, and family activities, it’s easy for time to fly by without getting enough rest. If your child is especially susceptible to challenges with the time change, consider lightening the schedule in the days before, and immediately after, we move the clocks forward. Limit sleepovers, out of town trips, late evening and early morning events.

While you can’t “bank” sleep hours, there is still a benefit to going into the time change well-rested. 

Tip #3: Don’t Forget About Tummy Time

No, we don’t mean THAT kind of tummy time. We are talking about the schedule our tummies run on that tells us when it’s time to eat. While sleep is usually the first consideration with the time change, don’t forget that sometimes crankiness comes from hunger. 

If your little ones are struggling with the time change, make sure they aren’t just getting irritable thanks to an empty stomach. The solution may be a slightly larger portion at dinner or a well-timed snack. Remember also to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their diet. Adding a snack of carrots, apples, or grapes will not only giving them a boost but provide nutrients their growing bodies need.

Tip #4: Patience Please

The time change is hard on everyone, not just children. We all tend to get a little off-kilter when the clock and daylight hours shift. Keep in mind that while your child may struggle to adjust for a few days, it can be helpful to approach this time with patience. 

Extra quiet and less screen time can help your child’s body adjust to the time change more easily. Try to remember that they aren’t as used to these transitions as adults are and may need a few extra days to get back into a routine. And with any luck, that transition might come with some extra snuggles. 

Even though the time change can be hard on the whole family, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Most children take about a week to fully acclimatize to the new schedule. Even those who struggle with the time change the most will eventually “reset” their internal clocks and you’ll be able to settle back into a routine.