Recent date changes to “spring ahead” and “fall back” often catch parents by surprise when it’s time to change the clocks for Daylight Saving Time. Well, here’s the scoop – move your clocks forward one hour tonight. At 2:01 on Sunday, March 13th, the country switches to Daylight Saving Time. In order to avoid any confusion, parents are advised to set their clocks back one hour before they go to bed on Saturday night. It’s also a great time to change your smoke detector batteries. Here’s the 411 and some fun facts about Daylight Saving Time.
The 411 about Daylight Saving Time:
Many people refer to the change as Daylight Savings Time, but it is actually called Daylight Saving Time (no “s” after Saving). Daylight Saving Time is not observed in Arizona, Hawaii and most of the United States territories, like Guamand Puerto Rico. Indiana was the last state to change over to Daylight Saving Time. It did so in 2005.
States are not mandated by a federal law to observe Daylight Saving Time. It is voluntary. However, if they choose to do so, the federal law does establish the dates the states must follow. From 1986-2006, these were the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October. However, the government changed the dates in 2007. Now, clocks change the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November. This change added a month to Daylight Saving Time.
Daylight Saving Time was instituted in the United States during World War I in order to save energy for war production by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October. During World War II, the government once again required the states to observe the time change. Between the wars and after World War II, states chose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time. In 2007, Congress extended the length of Daylight Saving Time as part of its 2005 Energy Policy Act. The act extended the period of Daylight Saving Time by four weeks, in hopes that it would save 10,000 barrels of oil each day through reduced use of power by businesses during daylight hours. There is still a huge controversy surrounding the actual energy savings, with many critics saying that little or no energy is saved.
Fun facts about Daylight Saving Time around the world:
- More than one billion people in about 70 countries around the world observe DST in some form.
- Most of Canada uses Daylight Saving Time.
- It wasn’t until 1996 that our neighbor to the south, Mexico adopted DST. Now all three Mexican time zones are on the same schedule as the United States.
- Also in 1996, members of the European Union agreed to observe a “summer-time period” from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October.
- Most countries near the equator don’t deviate from standard time.
- In the Southern Hemisphere, where summer arrives in what we in the Northern Hemisphere consider the winter months, DST is observed from late October to late March.
- Three large regions in Australia do not participate in DST.
- China, which spans five time zones, is always eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and it does not observe DST.
- In Japan, DST was implemented after World War II by the U.S. occupation. In 1952, Japanese farmers abandoned it because of strong opposition.
Helping kids cope with Daylight Saving Time:
Most families run on a pretty regular schedule, so nothing can make many parents cringe like those three dreaded words, Daylight Saving Time. It means that our kids’ internal clocks must be reset as they adapt to the time change. The “spring ahead” time change is a bit more brutal than the fall one because families lose an hour of sleep.
To help your family adapt to the time change, discuss it beforehand. Let the kids know that their hours of sunlight will be longer during the days. This can mean one extra hour of outdoor play when the sun is shining. Babies have the hardest time adapting to any time change. Experts suggest that parents put their young children to bed ten minutes earlier each night for one week leading up to the time change. If babies want to wake up earlier due to the time change, room-darkening shades can be used. Parents may observe that their baby (or child) is a little cranky or irritable after a time change. Overall, it takes a family about one week to adapt.
In Atlanta, Daylight Saving Time begins and regular time ends at 2:00 a.m. local time on Sunday, March 13th. Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour before going to bed on Saturday. Atlanta schools report an unusually high tardy rate on the first Monday following any time change. You don’t want to be one of those parents driving your kids to school because your children missed the bus!
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