Daylight Savings Time is Ending. Here’s How To Prepare Your Kids.

, Daylight Savings Time is Ending. Here’s How To Prepare Your Kids., The Habari News New York
, Daylight Savings Time is Ending. Here’s How To Prepare Your Kids., The Habari News New York

Unlike little kids, teenagers naturally tend to stay up later and struggle to get up in the morning. Thus, falling back tends to feel pretty great for your teenager as the world essentially moves one hour closer to his or her natural sleep schedule. If you want to capitalize on this, I encourage teens not to use the new clock time as an excuse to sleep in or to stay up later on the day after the change. Practically speaking, this means continuing to go to bed a bit earlier based on clock time. For example, if your teen struggles to fall asleep before 11:30 p.m. on Sunday nights, this is a good opportunity to have her go to sleep at 10:30 p.m. This new clock time will feel like her old bedtime, but get her more in sync with her school schedule.

The beginning of daylight saving time is going to be hard on anyone who struggles to get out of bed in the morning, due to the loss of an hour of sleep. If you need an alarm clock to wake up in the morning already, this one is painful.

For teenagers, it is especially difficult to make this adjustment. First, an hour of sleep is lost. Second, and even more important, this entails shifting the sleep period one hour earlier; it is always easier to stay up a little bit later than to go to bed earlier as our natural body clock operates on a day slightly longer than 24 hours.

, Daylight Savings Time is Ending. Here’s How To Prepare Your Kids., The Habari News New York

If you have younger kids who rise early, “springing ahead” can be a net positive in that their apparent wake time will be an hour later. So, if your child typically gets up at 5:30 a.m. and you are not happy about it, just wait until after the clocks “spring ahead” and she begins magically getting up at 6:30 a.m. Of course, she may also be going to bed at a later clock time as well.

The beginning and end of daylight saving time can cause sleep problems for parents and children alike. Younger children will get up earlier after falling back, and teenagers will struggle after springing forward. Tired parents will lose either way. Making some modest changes to your child’s sleep schedule beforehand can help cushion the blow.

This story was originally published on Oct. 14, 2019 on NYT Parenting.

Craig Canapari, M.D., is an associate professor of pediatrics at Yale University, director of the Pediatric Sleep Center at Yale-New Haven Hospital and the author of “It’s Never Too Late to Sleep Train.” He blogs about childhood sleep issues on his website.