How Do Time Changes Affect Children?
Although we may not notice, we all get a little confused when it comes to time changes, and we have to turn the clocks forward or back an hour. In this article we’ll share with you how to make this process a little easier for your children.
Time changes can affect us even if we don’t notice it. Children aren’t exempt from these effects. The main problem associated with time changes when it comes to children has to do with rest and the interruption of sleep cycles.
Some people don’t agree with time changes, however it does happen in most countries. Government officials say that time changes allow for significant energy savings. Those who oppose time changes however, claim that the benefits aren’t so evident.
Whatever your opinion may be about time changes, they must be followed otherwise you risk being left behind by society. This goes for children as well.
Time change consists of turning the clock one hour earlier at the beginning of winter and one hour later in the summer. These changes are made in order for people to make better use of natural light.
The alterations that are caused by time changes can be corrected in a couple of days. In the meantime, your child’s pace may change a little bit. Below you’ll find more details on this subject.
How do time changes affect children?
According to the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP), children are the age group that are most affected by time changes. It can take them up to a week to adapt after a time change.
We’re affected by time changes because our brains have time regulators that are guided by sunlight. These regulators are in charge of managing hunger, need for physical activity and many other elements.
Time changes can cause hormonal disorientation in children. The brain is confused and needs time to adapt and re-synchronize activities to fit into the “original” schedule.
According to children’s age, they may present the following difficulties:
- Infants: may present changes in meal schedules. This may be manifest during the nights or during the day.
- School children: school children may find it more difficult to wake up in the morning. As a consequence, they may suffer from attention deficit in class during the first days after the time change.
“The main problem that time changes cause in children has to do with rest and the interruption of sleep cycles.”
Lack of adequate rest can affect an infant’s mood. Don’t be surprised if your infant becomes irritated or fatigued.
Tips to mitigate negative effects
When faced with the consequences caused by time changes in children, experts recommend acting in advance. How can this be done? Below are a few useful suggestions:
First of all, it’s important to do some planning ahead of time. Children who have a regular schedule adapt easier to time changes. On the other hand, those with irregular schedules have a tougher time adapting to these changes.
Here are a few more details that can make a difference:
- Begin to move forward the child’s activities by 10 to 15 minutes before the time change occurs.
- Wake up the child when the room is already lit naturally.
- Offer a healthy breakfast to replace all of the extra energy exerted. Nuts can help older children regulate their circadian clock.
- Avoid daytime naps.
- Perform physical activity to promote quality rest.
- Emphasize nocturnal habits that lead to the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Turning off computers, cellphones and televisions is very important.
- To the extent possible make your children participate in relaxing activities such as reading. This will help them get better sleep.
In conclusion, it’s important to be patient until children adapt to the time changes. It’s not the child’s fault, nor is it that they don’t want to collaborate, it’s simply a physiological change that they must overcome. Patience and collaboration will help your child resume normal life in no time.