How Daylight Savings Time will affect kids of divorce


Daylight Savings


Next week, when we go on daylight savings time children, will rise an hour earlier. Most of them will rise while it is still dark outside. Some will have to wait on school buses in the dark. Monday all these children are going to arrive at school a little flustered and sleepy. It will take a few days or even weeks for their body clocks to get registered and set up on the new time zone.

What if it’s the switching hour

If this weekend is a switching weekend it will seem unusual and confusing to some children. For many children, it takes them a day or so to transition from the other home back into this home. Now they are coming back to this home early in the day. It is still light outside and they don’t want to be cheated out of their time with the other parent.

When you throw in rising an hour earlier and it being light outside when it’s time to go to bed, it serves to confuse the child even more. And some single parents forget to talk to their child about the time change. Each parent may think the other parent explained the time change when in reality no one has talked to the child.

Church programs will be affected

If you have weeknight programs at your church, you will be affected. In programs I’ve worked in at church, the kids feel like they are arriving at church when they should be outside playing. It is still light and the sun is still shining. Many will have only eaten a light meal because their little tummies haven’t adjusted to eating an hour earlier. It might be wise to have extra snacks available as they are going to get hungry when it begins to get dark outside.

Some children will be grouchy because they didn’t sleep well the night before. Give them a few days to get adjusted. It might be wise to have less restricted activities where they have to concentrate or sit still this next week. Go with calmer and fun nights for a week or so.

Constantly reassure the child what is going on. For some children it will need to be explained several times. You might even want to send out an email to the parents explaining the confusion their children are experiencing.

One single mom’s story

Years ago when I was working for the San Diego School System we had a little Pre-K child show up early. Her mom was a frazzled single mom and usually ran late. She was trying to go to school, work, and raise two little girls. This mom had set her clock ahead one hour on Saturday night. Forgetting that she had set it ahead the night before she set it ahead again on Sunday night. She said she had brought her daughter to school earlier and no one had been there. It didn’t dawn on her that she was an hour early even though it was pitch black outside. This little four-year-old child had gotten up at 4:00 am according to her internal body clock. Poor thing she was sleepy and very grouchy all day long.

How to help the child of a divorce

It is not knowing many times that is scary and confusing for children.

  • Be prepared to stay calm and collected when the child of divorce arrives.
  • Be gentle but firm when they start to act out or have unruly behavior.
  • Explain why they might be feeling funny or different.

Have you noticed children of divorce getting more out of control right after going on daylight savings time? What are you going to do this year to help them transition to daylight savings time?



This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on the Kids & Divorce blog on March 7, 2016.

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3 thoughts on “How Daylight Savings Time will affect kids of divorce

  1. Pingback: How Daylight Savings Time will affect kids of divorce more than it will affect you | Journey Through Divorce

  2. Pingback: DC4K » Combining Daylight Savings Time with Halloween = YIKES!

  3. Pingback: DC4K » Question of the week: How do you prepare your child for the disruption of their schedule?

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