Daylight Savings Time officially begins at 2 AM Sunday, March 10, 2013. For the majority of us, that means we lose an extra hour of sleep before starting the day. In addition to the loss of sleep time, the loss of time often comes with a price. I am always a little off kilter after the time change – my body is trying to adjust to the change while rejoicing the addition of daylight. If it affects me in this way, how does the time change affect our children?
Children generally do not use watches, but they can tell when there is a change in the behavior of the family and at the child care center. Children thrive on schedules, which is why their behavior is linked to our schedules. When those schedules are disrupted, it can cause changes in behavior.
Keep a close eye on your child for any changes in their behavior after the time change. If children seem to be more anxious try keeping your schedule as if the time change did not happen. Lunch at 12 noon will really be lunch at 1:00 …so a little earlier for snack and mealtimes might take the edge off.
For parents and early childhood educators, it is important to explain to older children that the clock says one thing while our body’s clock says something else, and that it will take awhile for the brain and body to get in sync with the new time.
At Little River School, we accommodated the change by serving meals at the old time rather than what the clock says.. Naps are scheduled at the old time and we carefully integrate the new time slowly over the course of the week.
Most importantly, is the issue of drop off and pick up time. Most children will now be waking up when it is dark outside, while just days before they woke when it was light. The most worrisome challenge at the child care center is around pick-up time because children are now going home an hour later than their internal time clocks are telling them. Children are accustomed to returning home in the dark, having dinner and going to bed. Now there might be time for a trip to the park. Parents might have to adjust the dinner schedule as well. Bedtimes might be adjusted as well, the body clocks will say it is 9:00 p.m. while the computer clock says 10:00 p.m.
Anxious behavior may occur during this time. The area where you live will impact behavior as well.
An excellent resource is the Science Daily article:
Daylight Saving Time Disrupts Humans’ Natural Circadian Rhythm, “When we implement small changes into a biological system which by themselves seem trivial, their effects, when viewed in a broader context, may have a much larger impact than we had thought,”
Science Daily â€” When people living in many parts of the world move their clocks forward one hour in the spring in observance of daylight saving time (DST), their bodies’ internal, daily rhythms don’t adjust with them, reports a new study.* The finding suggests that this regular time change–practiced by a quarter of the human population–represents a significant seasonal disruption, raising the possibility that DST may have unintended effects on other aspects of human physiology, according to the researchers. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071024123249.htm
Post by: Roseann Murphy