Daylight Saving Time and Children with Special Needs

Daylight saving time and children with special needs do not mix. Here’s why. 

It’s that time again.

No pun intended.

Spring forward. Daylight Saving Time. Or, as we like to call it here in my house, twice yearly crazy time.

Changing the time is a big deal around here.

Really big.

It seems like such a simple thing – it’s only an hour. I have been asked more times than I can count, “What if you just let him sleep an hour later? Should be fine right?


daylight saving time and children with special needs

I wish it was that simple. We would just adjust our sleep schedule to an hour later each March, and then back in November and move on.

But the time change for my boys is much more than just sleep.

It’s the way the entire day progresses.

When we eat. When my husband leaves for work. When he comes home. When our therapies are scheduled.

All of these things necessarily adjust with the time change.

And my sons, no matter what time they goes to sleep or wake, notice.

Because the rhythms of the day look different (literally with the amount of light in the house, and figuratively with the schedules accommodating the change), my sons’ anxiety increases. With that, they start to sleep even less, eat even less, cope even less.

We haven’t even touched the clock yet, and I am already exhausted. 

Daylight Saving Time and Children with Special Needs

Daylight Saving Time and Children with Special Needs

I have learned it lasts about ten days. Then, my sons seem to relax into the newness and move on.

So ten days.

We have ten days ahead of us, starting tonight.

I wish I could say something helpful. I wish I could call this piece, “5 Ways to Help Your Child With The Time Change”. But I got nothin’.

Except for ten days.

And this…

You are not alone.

Your child is not the only one.

You are not the only parent dreading and coping with the threat of daylight savings time.

In the grand scheme of things, this is not the worst thing we will deal with as parents of unique kids. I can shake my fist. I can rage against the clock.

I can post things like this on Facebook.

daylight saving time and children with special needs

And, at the end of the day, I will turn my clocks forward an hour, and do the best I can for my child.

So will you.

And it will be just fine.

Keep Reading

Sleep Deprivation and Mothering a Child with Special Needs

The Basics Are Difficult When Your Child Has Autism And ADHD

To the lonely mom of a child with special needs


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  1. here in Sydney Australia, ours change on the 3rd of April……. agh why oh why
    Hope the 10 days pass quickly for you

    1. Thanks Rachael – good luck to you on the 3rd!

  2. It’s funny but the change does not seem to bother DC until a few days later (which means I will be in the weeds at any moment now). Me? You would think someone made me stay awake for 24 hours, but it doesn’t phase him at all the first day or so. Once it hits, he will also begin getting nervous about a storm coming because it is a little bit darker in the AM. That always makes for such joyful mornings.

    1. Praying for us both this morning!

  3. Yes! I homeschool 2 with special needs and they are both a wreck today! Aaauugghhhh!

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