Before I became a parent, I didn’t have especially strong feelings about the time shifting by an hour twice a year. Like most people I was aware of the downsides — increased car accidents, schedule confusion, etc. — and I figured it would be better to knock it off. But I didn’t feel personally offended by having to mess with the handful of clocks in my life that don’t switch automatically. I’m not sure I even had an opinion as to whether, when we stopped changing, we should go with Standard Time or Daylight Savings.
With kids in the fall, it’s different. The days slowly get shorter, cutting deeper and deeper into the early-evening daylight hours where the young ones can play outside. And then, bam, the time change takes away another hour all at once, just because.
On Halloween where I live, the sun will rise at 7:30 a.m. and set at 6 p.m., give or take. The very next day, it will rise at 6:30 and set at 5 instead. Parents who work standard business hours get no daylight with their kids during the week at all in the following months.
It’s not just parents and kids who suffer. As former senator Orrin Hatch has noted, “Each year, we see higher rates of depression associated with less exposure to sunlight; higher energy consumption across the country; higher traffic fatalities with more Americans driving in the dark; higher incidence of crime; and a steep decline in retail sales with fewer consumers willing to shop at night.”
We should stop changing our clocks — and consign “Standard Time” to the dustbin of history where it belongs.