4 tips to help kids cope with daylight saving time

Going on or off daylight saving time can be hard for kids who learn and think differently. These tips can help.

Let’s be real. Daylight saving time — whether going on it or off it — is something most parents dread. Changes in routine are hard. And for kids who learn and think differently, they can be even harder.

But “falling back” or “springing ahead” an hour doesn’t have to be stressful. Planning ahead and making sure kids have time to adjust can help. Check out these four tips for a smooth (well, smoother) transition.

1. Give kids some time to adjust.

Kids who learn and think differently, especially kids with ADHD, often have trouble sleeping. The time change can make sleep challenges worse. Try gradually moving bedtimes, mealtimes, and homework time backward or forward. Giving your child a day or two to adjust to the new schedule can make it easier to cope with the time change. 

2. Stick to your routine.

The time might have changed, but your child’s bedtime routine can stay consistent. Sticking to clear routines makes it easier for kids to stay on track. And going through the usual routine can help kids’ brains get the message that it’s time to get sleepy.

3. Avoid screens.

The light from screens can disrupt kids’ sleep. If your child usually watches TV or uses a tablet close to bedtime, have them turn it off at least an hour before bedtime. You could even try pausing screen time for a few days during the transition. 

4. Think about what has — and hasn’t — worked before.

Different kids need different things. You know your child best. Think about what has or hasn’t been helpful in the past. A little extra time to read before bed? Lights out right away? A white noise machine? Things that have worked well in the past can help kids adjust to the time change more easily.

If it seems like your child is struggling to adjust, it might be time to ask how they’re feeling. People with ADHD are more likely than people without ADHD to have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). To learn more about SAD and get tips for the changing seasons, check out this guide.


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