Discovery Point Blog

October 27, 2020
blue clock, white pumpkin, fall leaves, time change

Tips for Easing the Time Change Transition

Looking forward to that extra hour of sleep coming our way this weekend? As adults, the end of Daylight Savings Time is often coupled with a sigh of relief as we imagine leisurely sleeping in on Sunday morning. 

What do you do when your children aren’t dreaming the same dream? Children often have a much harder time transitioning when the time changes. It’s not hard to understand why. Children thrive with routine. Having a regular schedule for getting up, eating, napping, school, and bedtime helps children feel secure and confident throughout the day.

The time change often throws this sense of confidence off a bit. It can leave our littles, and even our teens, feeling a bit out of sorts. How can you help your little or big transition? Let’s look at some tips from the Discovery Point team.

Tip #1: Start Now

While gaining an hour of sleep may sound great to you, it can be a challenge for children to adapt to the new schedule. Easing into the time change is the best way to make the transition smooth.

We suggest starting the transition as early as a week before the time change. Small adjustments, just 10 or 15 minutes a day, can help to move awake and bedtimes slowly. With a slow adjustment, your child will be more likely to respond positively to the new schedule.

Tip #2: Don’t Over Book 

Busy schedules are not uncommon during the fall months. Between school, activities, and family, all too often our schedules are booked solid. Sadly, with COVID still playing a major role in how we interact, our schedules may be a bit lighter than normal. Luckily, this can actually work to your advantage during the time change.

A jam-packed schedule makes it harder for children to remain well-rested and open to transitions. So, count your blessing that life has been forced to slow down a bit this year. It can be one of the rare silver linings in an otherwise stressful year.

Tip #3: Lighting Matters

One of the hardest parts about this time of year is that it gets dark so early. Children are easily influenced by the early darkness. So, make sure you keep your home well lit as the afternoon gets dark. This will help them to feel more awake. 

You can then transition the lights to a dimmer setting closer to bedtime. This will help to signal to them, without words, that it’s time to start calming down for bed. Of course, limiting screen time in the evening before bed is also going to make the transition to bedtime easier.

Tip #4: Practice Patience 

The time change is hard on our children, but remember we are affected too. If you are feeling a little “off” it could be because of the time change. Try to tap into your well of compassion and patience over the next week or so. When possible, give your child the benefit of the doubt and take any disruptions with a grain of salt. This too shall pass.

Additional quiet time and, as mentioned above, less screen time can help your child’s body adjust to the time change more easily. While the next week or 10 days might be a bit more stressful than normal, you’ll typically see children settle back into a routine within a week. Then everyone can refocus on the exciting holidays coming up!