Daylight Saving Time: Consequences and Solutions For Kids
Daylight saving time is approaching and we will turn the clocks an hour forward. It is said that “springing forward” can be a tough adjustment. It is even more difficult for children to adapt to change, because it is difficult to understand what happened and why the rhythm of the day has become different,”said Justė Petkuvienė, a teacher at Eureka Early Childhood Education School, who agreed to share ways to improve children’s well-being.
Justė noticed that most often, due to changes in time, children’s quality of sleep suffers the most. As a result, we can notice more small annoyances, aggression, less concentration. Children are very sensitive to lack of sleep. Even with a decrease in an hour of rest, children experience a great deal of stress, so it is very important that the change of time has the least possible effect on the kids sleep schedule.
Daylight saving time is a challenge not only for children, but also for parents
“From my experience working with children, I can confirm that daylight saving time is a challenge not only for children, but also for their parents and teachers. If the child is not gradually accustomed to the change of time, it becomes more difficult for them to stay in school, the little ones become more irritable and less concentrated during activities. Because children’s biological clocks don’t automatically change, they are more guided by it. The little ones get tired faster and feel that the activities and their schedule are unusual. Most of the time, children ask why we don’t eat or go to rest yet, because they already want to. They feel their learning time has expanded, ”says the teacher, who summarizes the advice of specialists that talk about overcoming the effects of “springing forward”.
Create the right environment
According to Melissa E. Moore, a pediatrician at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, it is advisable to limit the use of televisions, computers and other electronic devices to ensure quality sleep at least half an hour before bedtime. Also, do not engage in distracting activities or activities that require extreme physical and mental activity (if a child is old enough to learn to read, high mental strain can complicate the sleep process). It should be noted that some children are soothed in the bathing bath, while for others it can be activating. Lighting is also important. The room where the child is sleeping should be dark, but it would be good to let light into the room in the morning so that the child realizes that a new day is about to begin.
Preparation in advance
As sleep physician Daniel Lewin of Washington Children’s Hospital advises, you need to get used to the changes in sleep time little by little. It is best to start a few days before turning the clocks. E.g. on Thursday the child goes to bed 15 minutes earlier and wakes up 15 minutes earlier; on Friday he goes to bed 30 minutes early and gets up 30 minutes earlier. So little by little until Sunday, you get used to the new sleep time and getting up on Monday, rushing to school shouldn’t be that hard. With this kind of preparation, it is likely that the child will fall asleep more quickly an hour after turning the clocks and avoid high stress.
Don’t lose your sleep ritual routine
According to Dr. Melissa E. Moore, when practicing to go to bed earlier, it is helpful not to forget your sleep rituals. For example, brushing your teeth and reading a fairy tale together. Sleep rituals help the brain realize that it is time to calm down and prepare for rest, no matter what the clock “says” at that time. It is very important to perform sleep rituals at about the same time, whether it is a work day or a weekend. Preparing for sleep should not take more than half an hour.
Sleep specialist Daniel Lewin also advises these days after turning the clock to be more lenient with your children due to rising irritability and most importantly not to forget yourself. “It is very important that not only children get used to turning the clock, but also parents and teachers,” says the doctor.
“So, changing the time affects children’s quality of sleep the most. Lack of sleep or poor sleep causes children to experience more stress, making them more aggressive, more distracted. You can get used to the changes of time little by little, not forgetting sleep rituals and a sleepy environment. Using these seemingly simple methods, it is believed that children adapt to the changed time of day in a couple of weeks, ”says teacher Justė.