How could Daylight Saving Time affect your children's behavior? Tips for parents

Get ready to lose an hour of sleep this Sunday. And if you have kids, it may be even more stressful. 

At the Kidz R’ Kidz Childcare center in Cleveland, the kids ran around for most of the afternoon Thursday. Funny thing is, as excited as the kids are normally, Kidz R’ Kidz owner, Christie Taylor said they still see a difference in behavior when it comes to this time of year.

“Generally from winter to spring there's a lot of change. Kids are more frisky then they are laid back and they're touchy and feely for some apparent reason. We haven't figured out why, but kids just like to touch,” said Taylor talking about that change.

It may not be specific to Daylight Saving Time but Janet Lee Kemp, an adult and child psychiatrist, told NewsChannel5 the one hour lost in time does impact kids more than you may think.

“For most of us it's like 'Aww, we lost an hour,' but there's a subset of kids and teenagers, young adults and adults that are very sensitive to environmental queues. For example, the extra hour can be very detrimental for them sometimes. They can get more activated, more anxious, especially for my anxious, rigid ones, my autistic spectrum kids who need to have things structured and routine,” said Dr. Kemp.

That “touchy-feely” behavior the daycare owner described is something Dr. Kemp said could be a result of frustration that comes along with the time change, lack of sleep and change of season.

“The preschool-daycare age,” she said, they're still in the midst of developing their verbal abilities so they're going to express it more physically and that can happen.”

“Oh, it doesn't make it difficult, we just talk to the kids about touching each other and why it's important not to touch,” said Taylor, “and we just talk more to the parents about what they can do helping their kids with the change in season.”

Talking through the changes with children is something Dr. Kemp said could be a huge help. Especially for the older kids and teens who may be, along with the time and weather change, experiencing the stresses of graduating from a school and awaiting acceptance into a college!

Don’t forget though, it is just an hour. Not all kids will react the same way. 

Dr. Carol Rosen is the Medical Director of Pediatrics Sleep Medicine at University Hospital’s Rainbow Babies and Children. She said the best thing to do is stick to your schedule, but there is something you can do to make this transition a little easier. 

For young kids, Rosen said parents can start early. If not Thursday, on Friday night, put your child to bed 15 minutes early an another 15 minutes earlier on Saturday. That way your child can have an easier time catching up on their sleep.

Both Rosen and Kemp said letting your child sleep-in to catch-up on that lost hour may cause kids to have some difficulty going to bed the next day.

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