Posted by: Roseann Murphy | November 7, 2011

Time change and what it means to children…

Daylight Savings Time officially ends on Sunday, November 6, 2016 at 2 a.m.  For the majority of us it means we get an extra hour of sleep and relaxation before starting the day.   Children are often affected by the time change

Children generally do not use watches, but they can tell when there is a change in the family and the child care center’s behavior.

Much of our children’s behavior is linked to our schedules.
Children thrive on schedules. When those schedules are disrupted it can cause changes in their behavior. An extra hour in bed for you might mean your child wakes up at the same time needing the bathroom or to eat breakfast. If you’re not careful it can seem like you woke up to a stranger.

Observe your child for any changes in their behavior after the time change. If they seem to be more anxious or are having more accidents than normal, try getting up an hour earlier and seeing if the behavior continues.

Every year I am a little off kilter from the time change…my body is trying to figure this all out while mourning the loss of daylight saving time, as I do every year…but what about our children?

For parents and early childhood educators (these words are intertwined) it is important to explain to children old enough to understand the time says one thing but our body clock understand another…and it will take awhile to get our brains, bodies and time in sync.  Because the clock reads seven o’clock the body is still wondering why breakfast feels so late today….

Children in child care should be treated with an exceptional amount of understanding.  In Little River School we accommodated the change by serving meals at the “old time” rather than keep everyone waiting.  Naps were scheduled at the old time and we carefully integrated 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 the sun is up..When just days before they woke when it was dark.  The most worrisome time came around pick-up time.  Children are now going home in the dark.  It is important to talk about the schedule change and although it is dark, parents will return and take them home.

Children are accustomed to return home while the sun was shining and there might be an   opportunity to stop at the park or take a walk.  Parents will now arrive after dark.  Anxious behavior may occur during this time.  The area where you live will impact behavior as well.  Cold, wind, rain and snow can come without warning and children should be prepared for less time outside lessening their time in the sun.

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,”

Daylight Saving Time Disrupts Humans’ Natural Circadian Rhythm

ScienceDaily — 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.

Post by: Roseann Murphy

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