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Parents can spring ahead to help kids with daylight saving time

Toronto, March 7, 2014

By Bao Xiong

Dr. Joelene Huber
Dr. Joelene Huber

On Sunday, most Canadians will be moving their clocks one hour ahead for daylight saving time. Although the warm spring weather won’t be arriving for weeks, the practice signifies the end of winter and, to parents, it also means a change in routine for their kids.

“Kids have a strong internal biological clock,” Dr. Joelene Huber, a developmental pediatrician at St. Michael’s. “It’s hard for them to adjust to even a one hour shift because they thrive on routine.”

Many parents will notice their kids’ behavior changes, drowsiness or moodiness in the week following the shift.

Dr. Huber’s tips include:

  • going to bed and waking up at the same time each day (even on weekends)
  • keeping consistent bedtime routines
  • avoiding screens (computers, tablets and televisions) for at least two hours before bed
  • taking part in relaxing activities such as reading or taking a bath

“In the few days leading up to the time change, parents can start putting their kids to bed and waking them up 15 minutes earlier each day,” said Dr. Huber. “This will help ease them into it and make the adjustment smoother.”

The trick with kids, she adds, is maintaining consistent wake-up times so “don’t allow them to sleep in on Sunday.”

The time change isn’t all bad news.

Dr. Huber is quick to add that: “Springing ahead plays a big factor in how much physical activities kids can get. With more daylight in the evenings, kids are able to spend more time outdoors which leads to improved sleep schedules and healthier lifestyles.”

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.