Play is an overused word that means much to early childhood educators and very little to many other adults. They often think of children “wasting” time with play. It is during independent exploration that children discover and learn so very much. I challenge all who care about children to stop using the word play and replace it with exploration and discovery to begin to educate adults to the importance of what we used to call play.
This week, we’ve changed the clocks and everybody’s body clock will take about a week to get used to the new time. Adults and children find this week difficult. On top of this, we have an emotional election going on and most adults are concerned, whatever their political leanings. We are also in a pandemic where the daily count of confirmed cases is growing daily. In most states, children cannot play freely with their friends or see their grandparents. In the north, the weather has changed nearly overnight from summery weather to wintery weather, requiring jackets, hats, and in many cases, gloves as well. All this is a lot for everyone to absorb at once. Every year, the number of all sorts of accidents is higher the week the clocks are changed. If you drive, please be super careful because some of the other drivers are having body clock issues as well.
If you are involved in education, please do not give any major exams, teach anything difficult to understand, or expect papers to be in on time this week. If you’ve already scheduled some of these things, try to modify it out of respect for the students.
The younger the child, the more difficult to adjust to the time change. Young children who are having behavioral issues and who have begun to make progress may lose some of that progress this week. Do not think your attempts at improvement are worthless. Take a deep breath, realize they are having a tough time, and ease up for a few days. These children need extra support right now.
When I ran early childhood programs, I tried to modify the meal and rest times during the week of clock changes. On Monday, I tried to make the mealtime about 45 minutes off of the official time, gradually getting towards official time by Friday. In the Fall, they needed less nap time, but were crankier as it approached the end of the day. I changed the daily schedule to allow for more outdoor time if possible, more stories, more singing, and if some of the children spontaneously fell asleep at weird times, I encouraged staff to let them sleep.
Every time the clocks are changed, some people find it harder than others to get their body clocks reset. Cut them some slack. There are things that you find hard that others find easy. This will always be true. It’s not personal. It just is. Please, out of respect, no deadlines this week.
Also, if you are in a relationship, be mindful of your own and the other person’s need for time to adjust to the time change. If a major argument starts to happen, try to back off. Try to take some slow, deep breaths and just address it next week. If you think it will help, show that person this article.
In case you wondering how I’m doing with the change, I’m finished writing this at 6:24 AM, Standard Time. Wishing you an easy time change.