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Navigating Daylight Saving Time with Autism: Tips for Parents

The seasons are changing and spring is in the air. The weather is finally getting warmer and families are preparing for the shift that comes with Daylight Savings Time.

For parents of children with Autism, this transition can be challenging. Sleep disruption, changes in routine and sensory sensitivities can make adapting to the time change more difficult for children on the Spectrum.

Parents, have no fear, with the right planning and support this you can navigate this change smoothly. In this blog post we will explore practical strategies and tips to assist parents in supporting their children with Autism during Daylight Savings Time.

Gradual Adjustments

One of the most effective strategies for easing the transition of Daylight Savings Time for children with autism is to make gradual adjustments to their sleep schedule.

Instead of abruptly changing bedtime and wake-up times, start shifting them gradually in the days leading up to the time change.

For example, if the clocks are set to move forward by one hour, begin putting your child to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for four nights leading up to the time change.

This gradual approach allows your child’s internal clock to slowly adjust. This reduces potential sleep disturbances.


Visual Aids

Visual supports can be incredibly helpful for children with autism in understanding changes in their routine.

Parents can create visual countdowns leading up to Daylight Savings time. Mark each day on a calendar to visually represent the transition.

Another good idea is to use visual cues to indicate when bedtime will occur and when it’s time to wake up in the morning.

These visual aids provide structure and predictability. This helps reduce confusion associated with this change.

Stick to Routines

Consistency is key!

This is especially true when it comes to supporting children with autism through transitions like Daylight Savings time.

Stick to established routines as much as possible. This includes

  1. Meal time,
  2. Bedtime
  3. Daily schedule.

This offers your child a sense of security and stability during times of change. Even as you make adjustments to sleep schedules, try to keep other aspects of your child’s routine consistent .

Sensory Support:

Daylight Savings time brings brighter evenings. This potentially can disrupt sleep patterns especially since children with autism can be more sensitive to changes in lighting.

Parents can create a calming bedtime environment by

  1. Dimming the lights
  2. Playing soothing music
  3. Using weighted blankets.

Provide your child with sensory tools or toys that help them self-regulate and manage any heightened sensory sensitivities during this time of transition.

Positive Reinforcement

Celebrate Success!

Offer plentily of positive reinforcement throughout the transition of Daylight Savings Time.

Praise and reward your child for their efforts in adapting to the time change, reinforcing desired behaviors.

Keep in mind this is no matter how small the victory!

Positive reinforcement helps to reinforce desired behavior! It encourages your child to continue making progress.


Daylight Saving Time presents unique challenges for children with autism and their families. With careful planning and support, it is possible to navigate this change smoothly.

Parents can help their children adapt with greater ease by

  1. Gradually adjusting sleep schedules
  2. Utilizing visual aids
  3. Maintain consistency in routines
  4. Provide sensory support
  5. Provide plenty of positive reinforcements.

Remembers, every child is unique!

Don’t hesitate to tailor these strategies to best meet your child’s needs.

With patience, understanding and support- you and your child can successfully navigate daylight savings time together!