You may be onto your second coffee already and yawning through your morning meetings, but as tough as daylight saving feels to you, spare a thought for the 200,000 Kiwi toddlers and babies - and their working parents - trying to adjust to the summer clock.

While school-aged kids are enjoying a well-timed holiday sleep in, early childhood expert Dr Sarah Alexander says parents trying to get toddlers and babies to childcare today will be finding this a particularly difficult Monday morning.

Chief executive of the Child Forum Early Childhood National Organisation, Alexander says the impact of a one hour adjustment on a young child's mental state can be harmful. So her advice for mums and dads is to take their time today.

" ... it is better to be a bit late than rush things and have an upset baby. Early childhood education providers support what is best for children and will not mind, and hopefully employers will show understanding too."


Noting that babies establish their sense of time through routine - rather than looking at a clock - Alexander says a change such as daylight saving "can confuse and unsettle their feelings of security."

The impact of changed sleep and meal times often manifests in tantrums and emotional meltdowns.

Parents may also find their child less attune to their surroundings and more inclined to knocks and falls due to increased tiredness, Alexander says.

So what can parents with little ones do to mitigate the impact of daylight saving?

Where possible, Alexander advises trying to make the transition gradually over the next week or two, rather than implementing a changed routine by a full hour instantly.